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Portable High Resolution Imaging System

The information below is a follow up of the article about the Visionary Digital BK Plus Laboratory System for photographing insect specimens, included in the Journal of Natural Science Illustration 2013 No. 1.

A Connecticut start-up, Macroscopic Solutions, has created a portable insect photography system, using high-quality off-the-shelf components. They also donate one system to schools and non-profit groups for each 10 they sell.

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Call for Exhibits: Art of Conservation

Chugach Arts Council in Seward Alaska is gearing up for its 2nd year of Art of Conservation projects.

Artists of all ages, abilities and mediums are invited to submit art to be included in beautiful books of art to be published this year in connection with National Pollinator WeekEndangered Species Day and World Oceans Day. In addition a book featuring Public Lands & National Wildlife Refuge Projects will be created. Deadline for submissions has been extended to May 26, 2014.

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2014 PLAYA Residency

PLAYA, a facility and nonprofit organization near Summer Lake, in Southeast Oregon, offers Residencies to artists, writers, natural scientists, naturalists, and others engaged in creative or interdisciplinary work.

PLAYA has two application deadlines on the following dates: March 1, 2014 (for Fall 2014 sessions running mid-August - December) and September 1, 2014 (for Spring 2015 sessions running January - June). For questions regarding these upcoming residencies or general information please email [email protected].

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Call for Exhibits: Beautiful Maryland

The GNSI-DC Chapter invites submissions for the upcoming exhibit, Beautiful Maryland: Natural Science Illustrations of the Chesapeake Bay Region, from all members that have attended at least one GNSI-DC meeting in the last year.

TIMELINE:

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Call for Volunteers: Develop a Science Illustration K-12 Curriculum

An open invitation to all GNSI members to help develop a science illustration K-12 curriculum

Initial premises:

1] Science illustration as a career is still a career unfamiliar to the general public (and often to the scientists we serve); integrating a science illustration curriculum into general education (especially STEM) programs will help to educate people as to who we are and what we do.

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RIP: Camera Lucida

In grad school, I was assigned the task of drawing a series of teeth using a camera lucida attached to a microscope. This was the best tool EVER! I knew the measurements were correct, knew proportions were accurate… because I’d traced it. Fast and simple. Alas, the camera lucida faded into obscurity as more microscopes were equipped with cameras.

camera lucidaSo when a Kickstarter campaign launched to create a new kind of camera lucida, I eagerly awaited the result. When they released to the public, I bought two (I teach a course in Biological Illustration and thought the tool would be useful to show (or check) contours, proportions, or values. After all, the camera lucida turns 3-D images into 2-D traceable elements).

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Book Review: Beetles and Other Insects

Introduction

On the introduction to Beetles and Other Insects, Gerhard Scherer writes “There is (…) something mysterious about these objects, these small organisms with many hidden secrets. This aura of mystery and the fascination exerted by insects’ physical appearance are no doubt what has repeatedly induced artists to depict them.” Indeed it was only at thirty-two years of age that artist Bernard Durin (1940-1988) stumbled upon insects for the first time, during a walk in his native region of Provence. But the experience was so transformative that it set him on a journey to illustrate these animals with a passion and precision that are unparalleled in the representation of insects.

FROM THE BOOK COVER: BEETLES AND OTHER INSECTS BY BERNARD DURINBeetles and Other Insects includes all known and currently available images produced by Bernard Durin. It is the fourth expanded edition of the book published in 1980 with the same title. About half of the sixty watercolor plates in it portray a variety of beetles, from the widespread seven-spotted ladybug and the expected Hercules and rhinoceros beetles to the rare alpine borer and exotic flower scarabs. The remaining plates put the spotlight on a few species from the wasp, bees and ants group, cicadas, tree and jewel bugs, grasshoppers, a crane fly, butterfly and praying mantis. There are also one spider and two scorpion illustrations, which, by being outside of the insect group, should have called for a different book title. Each plate is complemented by a historical and anatomical text, the majority of them crafted by the head of the beetle section of the Zoologische Staatssammlung in Munich at the time of the first edition.

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2014 COM.EN.ART Residency

The Huyck Preserve is accepting applications for our COM.EN.ART program for 2014.

COM.EN.ART (COMmunity.ENviroment.ART) is an Artist-in-Residence program for natural history illustrators offered by the Huyck Preserve, a biological field station and 2000-acre nature preserve in the picturesque Hudson Valley hamlet of Rensselaerville, NY. This two-week residency is designed to provide concentrated field experience and study for illustrators, as well as encourage interaction and discussion about nature among artists, with scientists and with the community. The artists contribute a finished piece of artwork and submit a sketch to the Preserve's ongoing artists' sketchbook in exchange for studio and rustic living quarters. The residencies can take place between May and September.

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Memories of John Gurche at the National Museum of Natural History

The paleo halls at the National Museum of Natural History are undergoing a major renovation. The exhibit Life in the Ancient Seas, which opened in 1990 (see Deck 1992), closed on October 28, 2013; the remaining paleo complex, which opened in stages in the 1980s (for example, see Park 1981), closes April 28, 2014. The new paleo halls will reopen in 2019.

John Gurche’s original acrylic paintings currently enhance the paleo halls in three areas – but only for a few more months. His innovative Tower of Time stands majestically in the main entrance of the exhibit; his painting of a Devonian landscape provides the background for a diorama in the Conquest of Land hall; and his delicate and well-designed Evolution of the Horse spans half of the interior circumference of an intimate enclave in the Mammals in the Limelight hall.

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2014 Voices in the Wilderness Residency

Voices in the Wilderness Art ResidencyResidencies open to artists and arts professionals in all media – visual (two and three dimensional: photographers, sculptors, painters), audio (musicians, singers, composers), film (video/filmmakers), and writers (poets, fiction, essays, storytellers).

Residency period: June through September; dates vary Contact: Barbara Lydon at (907) 754-2318, e-mail: [email protected] Or check out www.voicesofthewilderness.blogspot.com

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2014 Wrangell Mountains Center Residency

Wrangell Mountain ResidencyThe Wrangell Mountains Center (WMC) is a nonprofit organization that fosters understanding, appreciation, and stewardship of wildlands and mountain culture in Alaska through scientific and artistic inquiry in the Wrangell Mountains. The Wrangell Mountains Residency Program aims to support artists of all genres, writers, and inquiring minds in the creation of their work. Our organization and community will provide unrestricted work time and space to focused individuals. We invite applicants with creative and inquisitive minds who will both add to and benefit from the interdisciplinary efforts at our campus in McCarthy, Alaska and the surrounding Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.

Located in a small mountain community and within the boundaries of the nation’s largest unit of the national park system (over 13 million acres), our vast and spectacular setting provides a unique natural and cultural environment for the WMC. Positioned near ice-capped mountains, the roaring Kennicott River and McCarthy Creek, and the raw terminus of the Kennicott Glacier, the local landscape is a dynamic laboratory for study in ecology, glaciology, and geology. The town of McCarthy was established during the copper mining period in the early 20th century. Many historic sites and buildings in McCarthy and Kennecott combine to make the area a rich cultural environment, hosting vibrant communities full of character and dynamic narratives. It is an ideal place for contemplation and creative endeavor.

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Call for Exhibits: Fourth Coast Illuminated

This is an invitation to GNSI members living in states and provinces bordering the Great Lakes to submit entries to Fourth Coast Illuminated, an exhibition of art featuring flora, fauna, and archaeological artifacts of the region.

  • Submission Deadline: March 21, 2014
  • Acceptance Notifications Sent: April 5 - 7
  • Delivery Of Accepted Work: June 23 - 27
  • Exhibit Dates: July 1 - August 30, 2014. [Kalamazoo Nature Center will be hosting the Association of Nature Center Administrators annual Summit August 20-23.]
  • Exhibit Location: Kalamazoo Nature Center's Glen Vista Gallery, Kalamazoo, MI.
  • Eligibility: Open to all current GNSI members living in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ontario.
  • Subjects: Plants, animals, habitats, landscapes, natural & archaeological artifacts of the Great Lakes region.

The exhibit will be on display at the Kalamazoo Nature Center in its Glen Vista Gallery July 1 - August 30, 2014. Kalamazoo Nature Center is one of the most highly regarded nature centers in the country and is considered a leader in the field. Their Glen Vista Gallery is large, well-lit, and free from visual distraction. As a bonus, the KNC will host the Association of Nature Center Administrators' annual Summit during the exhibit, providing an interested and appreciative audience.

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Call for Volunteers: Hunt Institute

As part of a multi-year photography initiative, the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation is working to photograph their entire Art collection. These photos are primarily for in-house purposes, but they would like to add small, 100 dpi thumbnails of the artwork to their Catalogue of the Botanical Art Collection at the Hunt Institute database, which is accessible on their Web site. These thumbnails will be of low-resolution, unable to be reproduced and still protected by copyright where applicable. Adding thumbnails of the 29,470 works in the Art collection to the online database not only will provide helpful information for researchers but also will give potential visitors and scholars the opportunity to see amazing examples of botanical art by historical masters and leading contemporary artists. To date, the Hunt has photographed and added thumbnails for several collections that are out of copyright or are otherwise in the public domain.

Because this is a use not covered in the original donation or purchase agreement prior to 2010, the Hunt would like to contact all living artists (or their heirs) who have work in their collection to request permission to include thumbnail images in our database. Any artist who has participated in the International Exhibition of Botanical Art & Illustration series prior to the 13th International in 2010 and whose work is in the collection please contact stating either “Yes, I grant permission for a thumbnail of my artwork to be included on the Website” or “No, I do not wish for my artwork to have a thumbnail on the Web site.” Be sure to include updated contact information so that we can include it in our private records and contact you should there be any request involving your work.

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Member Spotlight: Sandy McDermott

Sandy McDermottBushwhack. One definition says “to make one’s way through woods by cutting at undergrowth, branches, etc.” This is how I ended up rolling through life. 

Born into a family with an alcoholic father and a mother busy working to pay the bills and raise three children, “nurturing” was virtually non-existent in my rearing. We hear this sort of story all the time and most certainly there are people who had it much worse than I. But, this environment guided my early years and led me to seek attention and acceptance outwardly, have poor study habits in high school, low self-esteem, no long-term vision, etc. Fortunately, I soon realized the surrogate environment and bad attitude were just more dead ends and not the life I wanted. It took a while for this lost soul to find the confidence to start a journey completely alone. But I did. And that’s what matters in this story.

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Kickstarter project: Why do polar bears have such big butts?

Why do polar bears have such big butts?Some of you who attended the 2013 GNSI conference in Bar Harbor, Maine may remember Chuck Carter who gave an interesting presentation on the future of eBooks. Chuck started a new company a year ago and is now working on his first independent project. Using polar bears as the focal point, Chuck and his team are creating an interactive almanac about polar bears and the arctic ecosystem in which they live. But this book is squarely aimed at a mass market. So it has interactivity, games, and a friendly art style.

To get this project off the ground independent of the big publishers, Chuck is doing a Kickstarter campaign to raise what I think is a very tight budget to get the job done. If you are interested in seeing what interactive books are about, or have kids or adults who might be interested in polar bears, you can support this campaign at very modest levels and get a copy of the book for your iPad or Mac. The stretch goal is to move it to Android and PCs if there is enough interest/pledges.

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Book Release: Mecklenburg Breeding Bird Atlas

Excerpt from article by Amber Veverka, The Charlotte Observer, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013

The golden-crowned kinglet leans over a sketched-twig perch, his bright eye peering out from the page at his creator, Leigh Anne Carter.

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Journal of the American Medical Association covers

JAMA coverThe Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has adorned its cover with works of medical art for 50 years. A JAMA redesign this summer put the table of contents on the front cover and moved the art inside. Apparently, readers appreciated the art but were not sure what was inside.

But for a theme issue on medical education, the editors made room for an image by JAMA senior medical illustrator and GNSI member Cassio Lynm. It pays homage to the poker playing dogs of early 20th-century artist Cassius Marcellus Coolidge. Cassio's whimsical depiction of a teaching hospital patient's room has elicited a request for posters from the JAMA readers. 

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South American Dinosaurs

Mauricio Alvarez AbelMauricio Alvarez Abel, our southernmost Chilean GNSI member is the guest blogger today. He is working closely with Chilean scientists to reconstruct recent dinosaur finds in southern Chile. These discoveries shed new light on the recurring connection between South America and the Antarctic. Mauricio also has had one of his images accepted into the "Focus on Nature" and has a strong desire to come to the New York opening, but it is a long way to travel...

 

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Painting the Desert in Tucson

Linda FeltnerI asked fifteen artists to join me on Tumamoc Hill, Tucson, AZ, for a day to paint at the U of A Desert Lab. The landscape is a working lab and the public is restricted to the paved road that extends to the top of the hill, where petroglyphs and artifacts from an Anasazi community can be found. The historic stone buildings provided facilities as well as wonderful subjects to draw. This living laboratory gave us an ungroomed Sonoran Desert landscape. I would like to offer more workshops in this fascinating place.

The Sky Island Paint-out was organized as an opportunity for artists to explore this new landscape to paint in Tucson. I started the day with a "Today's Focus" challenge that would encourage artists to think and sketch differently.

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Book Review: Shaping Humanity

Shaping Humanity book coverGray-bearded John Gurche has been in the paleo-reconstruction business for a long time. His paintings, drawings, and sculptures are featured in numerous books, magazines, and exhibitions in the National Museum of Natural History, the American Museum of Natural History, the Field Museum, National Geographic magazine, Natural History magazine, and The Guild Handbook of Natural Science Illustration (see Hodges 2003, 1989), just to name a few. He teaches and lectures about his work to public and scholarly audiences, including the GNSI.

John, who I consider to be the best in the business, has just published his first book: Shaping Humanity. Now, all of us can begin to understand the technical, scientific, aesthetic, and spiritual travels that take John from the fossil remains to his completed sculpture. Beautifully designed by James Johnson and lavishly illustrated in full color, Shaping Humanity is sure to become a classic in the field of paleo-reconstruction.

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