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Call for Exhibits: 2012 Margaret Flockton Award

This is the final call for entries for the Margaret Flockton Award 2012. Some entries have already been received and there are only a few weeks left until entry deadline.

The Margaret Flockton Award commemorates the contribution Margaret Flockton made to Australian scientific botanical illustration.

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Remedies for Small Copyright Claims

The US copyright office is continuing it's research into Orphaned Works, with the likely outcome of more legislative attempts in the future. Currently, they are looking for input on remedies for Small Copyright Claims.

If you have had successes or failures in pursuing an infringement claim, or considered and rejected an attempt at one, the Copyright Office needs to hear how and why from you by January 17th.

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Book Release: Field Notes on Science and Nature

Field Notes on Science and Nature, CoverA new Harvard publication edited by Michael Canfield, "Field Notes on Science and Nature" explores multiple methodologies for creating science field journals with multiple authors presenting a chapter each. This includes the GNSI's own Jenny Keller of the California State University, Monterey Bay campus.

The book covers disciplines as diverse as ornithology, entomology, ecology, paleontology, anthropology, botany, and animal behavior, and Field Notes on Science and Nature. Readers are allowed to peer over their shoulders and into the notebooks of a dozen eminent field workers, to study firsthand their observational methods, materials, and fleeting impressions. And features wonderful illustrations from the journals of the authors. Jenny's work is prominently featured.

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2012 Caribou Ranch, CO Art Residency

Boulder County Parks and Open Space Department is announcing an Art Residency opportunity for next summer at Caribou Ranch, west of Boulder, CO.

The selected artists can stay up to 7 days in the historic DeLonde Barn at Caribou Ranch and work in and with the inspiring landscape of the Caribou Ranch. For more information, please click here.

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Cornell Launches New Advanced Botanical Art Class

Cornell University's Department of Horticulture has just announced the third online class in their Botanical Illustration Certificate program.

Marcia Eames-Sheavly of the Cornell Horticultural Department reports that there are now three online classes making up the certificate program.

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Call for Presenters: 2012 GNSI Annual Conference

We are looking for artists and scientists to present at the 2012 GNSI Annual Conference, July 8-14, Savannah, Georgia.

If you have a great idea for the conference, email Cat Wilson - [email protected] by January 15th. Please include a title, short description of your idea and which of the follow niches you want to participate in:

  • Technique showcase (two hours) – Demonstrations of your techniques & tools.
  • Presentations  (~one hour) – Speak about a topic that you are passionate about. For example, a recent project, techniques & methods for working, history of illustration/profile of an inspirational figure from art or science history, business skills & marketing, research methods, connections between education, science and art, etc.
  • Workshops (1/2 day, 1 day or even 2) – Both art or science-based workshops are welcome.
  • Mini-Workshops (1 or 2 hours) – A hybrid between a presentation and a workshop. Participants can get hands-on with materials and techniques but in a short period of time.
  • NEW! Portfolio Reviewers (1 or 2 hours) – We are looking to incorporate portfolio reviews in the conference. Each review will be twenty minutes so you would commit to review six portfolios.
  • NEW! Contract Panel – We are looking to help GNSI members understand and have access to contract language and clauses. A first step would be a panel discussion. If you have a successful contract model, or experience negotiating contracts, consider sharing your expertise.

Illustrating Atoms and Molecules

Abstract

Since atoms are smaller than the wavelength of visible light, it is theoretically impossible to “see” an atom, even with the most powerful microscope. Nevertheless, we recognize that atoms consist of “shells” of electrons buzzing around a central nucleus. Therefore, it’s common to depict an atom as a simple sphere, its diameter proportional to the size of its outermost electron shell. Furthermore, scientists have developed experimental methods, such as x-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy, to determine the geometric arrangement of atoms within a molecule. These data can be used to construct three-dimensional models of molecules, but the illustrator must be aware that such a model is an abstract representation and is not meant to show what the molecule really “looks like”.

Atom Colors

Because an atom is smaller than the wavelength of visible light, it cannot reflect light and, therefore, has no color. The colorful atoms you see in chemistry textbooks are based on conventions that have been adopted by chemists over several centuries. The alchemists of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance used iconic symbols to depict the different elements (Figure 1). They also associated certain colors with each element based on its physical properties, although these colors never appeared in print because of the rarity of color printing prior to the late 19th Century.

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In Memoriam: Larry Isham

Larry Isham, 1987 (photographer unknown)Larry Isham, scientific illustrator for the Department of Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution for 30 years, died on 18 September 2011 of congestive heart failure at his home with hospice care in Arlington, Virginia. Larry helped found, drafted the first constitution, and was the first president of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators.

> Larry Isham, 1987 (photographer unknown)

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Using Engineering Principles to Reconstruct Leaf Shape

Abstract

In reconstructing the elements of a convincing prehistoric landscape, some approaches require engineering equations while others depend on subtle nuances of personal observation. The reconstruction of a fossil taxon can be strongly supported with reference to a related extant species. Where no such living plant exists, visualization and imagination are not enough; creating models using structural engineering principles and in-depth field study of living analogs is vital to both accuracy and artistic authenticity. All images copyrighted by Marlene Hill Donnelly, unless otherwise noted.

Introduction

This was a genuine collaboration between art and science: questions about color and form had a significant part in directing research. All plant reconstructions were done for paleobotanist Jennifer McElwain of the Field Museum and University College Dublin. As an ecologist specializing in climate change, Jenny needed accurate landscape reconstructions of Late Triassic and Early Jurassic Greenland. The results provide a strong visual description of the long-term devastation of global warming.

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Book Release: Colorful Edibles! A new ASBA coloring book

Colorful Edibles book coverThe American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA) has published a wonderful new coloring book, Colorful Edibles. It features 28 pages of delicious line drawings by 26 ASBA members selected from nearly 80 submissions. I am excited to say that two of my drawings have been included! In addition, a number of other Guild of Natural Science Illustrators with ASBA membership are also in the publication.

Contributing artists are: Bobbi Angell, Mary Bauschelt, Beverly Behrens, Irene Blecher, Doreen Bolnick, Silvia Bota, Carol Creech, Carrie DiCostanzo, Jan Denton, Beverly Duncan, Joel Floyd, Keiko Fujita, Gretchen Halpert, Carol Hamilton, Wendy Hollender, Lois Jackson, Jeanne Kunze, Marjorie Leggitt, Derek Norman, Suellen Perold, Kelly Leahy Radding, Maryann Roper, Nancy Savage, Pauline Savage, Judith Scillia and Kelly Sverduk.

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Call for Exhibits: 48th Annual Wild Mushroom Show

The Art Committee of the Puget Sound Mycological Society (PSMS) is pleased to announce our third juried Art Exhibit to be part of the 48th Annual Wild Mushroom Show. The Wild Mushroom Show will be held Saturday, October 15 and Sunday, October 16, 2011, at the Mountaineer's Club, 7700 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA

Prospectus and Entry Forms available at PSMS website
http://www.psms.org/exhibit.html#art

Ten dollars per entry. Entry deadline is September 15, 2011.

Contact: Doug Birkebak [email protected]

5 Reasons Your Camera Won't Steal My Job

This is a summary of the post originally published in Symbiartic, a Scientific American blog, run by Kalliopi Monoyios and Glendon Mellow. Read the full article here.

By far the most common question I get when I tell people that I am a scientific illustrator is one variation (some more tactful than others) of, “They still use illustrators? Why don’t they just photograph everything?” In fact, it’s a great question. Although photography is fantastically impressive and can offer glimpses into worlds both big and small, it has limitations just like any other medium. That’s where we illustrators get to fill in the blanks.

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Call for Exhibits: Focus on Nature XII

Focus on Nature (FON) is a biennial exhibition of scientific, natural and cultural history illustration. Since its inception in 1990, the number and quality of submissions have risen, the range of materials and media have expanded, and the geographic representation of artists has broadened. A five-member jury of scientists and artists selects artwork that accurately represent the subjects, or research results and processes. FON seeks to demonstrate the connection between science and images; stimulate an interest in natural history art among practicing artists, aspiring artists, and the public; and bring natural history illustration to the attention of people who might not otherwise be aware of the important role it plays in research and the dissemination of knowledge.

Each exhibit invites a guest juror from among artists who have previously participated in FON. Past jurors include Louisa Rawle Tine, Michael Rothman, Monika DeVries, Dick Rauh, and Rosemarie Schwab. The guest juror for FON XII is Francesca Anderson. For a full description of FON exhibitions, award winners, exhibition catalogs, as well as the online entry form, please visit the FON website at http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/fon/about/index.html.

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2011 GNSI Educational Series Workshop: review

2011 GNSI Educational Series WorkshopThe “Illustrating Birds” workshop, held April 2-4, 2011, in Kearney, Nebraska, combined all the best elements of a typical GNSI education experience: intensive content that provides a great foundation for illustrative work, wonderful mentoring that promotes accurate and exceptional art, and artistic camaraderie that inspires all who participate.

Workshop participant and Susan W. Frank Scholarship recipient Nancy Gehrig summarized it well: “The Bird Illustration Workshop was a wonderful immersion into the world of birds. I really enjoyed the three days and feel I have a good sense of how to improve my work. The lecture on bird anatomy was a perfect start for me, and I found the sketching of the live birds very challenging. I am pleased to say that I am looking and thinking of birds a bit differently, checking out the anatomy and structure and thinking of the shapes and landmarks—thinking about which feathers I am seeing and that structure lies underneath. Linda Feltner is a marvelous teacher, and I really appreciate her passing on her vast knowledge and experience. It was a great class and a fun group of people. We even practiced figure 8 flapping!”

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[Compiled] 2011 GNSI Annual Conference

2011 conference logo

 

>2011 GNSI annual conference logo by Dave Ehlert

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Call for Exhibits: Nature’s Medicine Chest–Plants, Animals, Minerals

The Greater New York Chapter of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators in conjunction with Highstead Arboretum of Redding Connecticut requests submissions from members for an exhibition to be held at the Highstead Arboretum from Saturday, September 10 through Saturday, October 29, 2011.

Submission deadline: Monday June 20, 2011.

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GNSI members interviewed by ArtPlantae

Recently three members of the GNSI have been featured by the online magazine ArtPlantae Today.

Bring the Ocean Into Your Classroom

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Copperplate Etching

Copperplate image1It’s all about attention to detail and process— things scientific illustrators thrive on. How could I not be entranced with copperplate etching? But beyond the detail, there is so much more. For all the attentive control that one can impose on the copper, there are variables created by acid, paper, ink, and press that allow surprises both discouraging and rewarding, and each print pulled off the press is a remarkable experience. There is a tactile pleasure to working on copper, and there is the added appeal that comes from being able to rework a plate with more marks and more techniques, and results planned and unplanned enhance the art and satisfy the artist. A fortuitous encounter with a master printmaker provided me with an introduction to the medium and I was hooked as soon as I pulled my first crude print. A few years later two women opened a small print studio in my town. I rent time there, bringing my own paper, copper, and ink, while sharing chemicals, solvents and a printing press in a well-lit ventilated space. Several of us occasional printmakers interact there, learning from, inspiring, and teaching one another.

Creating a print is a labor-intensive process involving many stages, beginning with a sketch. I plan my composition carefully, choosing an image (usually a plant) that I feel intimately connected to and will be content to look at over and over again. My design needs to fit within the confines of a piece of copper and must allow for the fact that the image will be reversed when printed.

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Magic on a Plane: Lenticulars

Not Just for Crackerjacks Anymore

Those little stamp-sized cards in a box of Crackerjacks introduced this technology to many of us. The card bore a surface of fine parallel plastic ridges on the front; a cartoon would move when the card was tilted at varying angles.

The technology of lenticular printing like this has become more sophisticated over the years. There are a variety of visual effects that one can achieve, from 3D to morphing to animation. These effects are set up using image-editing software, such as Adobe Photoshop, that allows for layered files. The resulting product can be a great attention-grabbing device for delivering a science message or for inspiring the imagination of a young scientist.

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You Get What You Pay For

This post was originally published in Symbiartic , a Scientific American blog, and is reproduced here with permission.

Last week, a very prominent artist in the paleontology community somewhat publicly blew a gasket. His tirade started a conversation that has been sorely in need of attention for some time now. At issue is a fundamental conflict of interests: between science and its tradition of cumulative knowledge, and the rights of the artists who contribute so heavily to such knowledge. It’s a conflict that has irked both artists and researchers, but as budgets tighten and opportunities dwindle, artists are increasingly getting the short end of the stick.

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