Inspired by Nature

3

November 30, 2010





A couple of times on this here blog, I have featured the work of other artists that draw their inspiration from nature and science. And now, just in time for your holiday shopping, I have another artist: Contagious. Contagious is the vision of a skilled jeweler, Ruth. Ruth draws her inspiration from nature and science, often siting some of the old, vintage biology and zoology books in her collection as source material. The books, charmingly, often show up in the photos of the jewelry items in her Etsy shop. One of my favorite, current items is the "Protozoa" necklace. It's a fine example of Ruth's craftsmanship. She uses top notch materials, with impeccable attention to detail. Her aesthetic vision is sophisticated in that she makes these forms her own. While they reference the original source material, they also have an elegant abstract quality leaving the wearer and observer an open door to many interpretations. So hop on over to her ETSY STORE and have a look, because doesn't that special biologist in your life deserve a protozoa necklace, and a pair of strobili earrings? Yes. Yes they do.

Long-eared Owl - Asio Otis

1

November 29, 2010


Well hello! Happy Monday. Yep, been a bit since the last post, right? I've been up to my neck with this book illustration job. I wish I could share the details of it with you, but it's top secret, so I have to keep my yapper shut for now. Despite the pile of deadlines, I have been able to eek out a few watercolors. This one of some Long-eared Owls is the latest. It's a painting I did for a friend, but it will be available in my online stores as a giclee print this weekend.

I've been wanting to do this image for a couple of years now. If you're a Chicago resident you may recall when a couple of winters ago, a group of male Asio Otis roosted in a cluster of pine trees in a South Loop school yard. It was truly a magical scene. I don't normally use "magical" to describe things, but it was just that; a mysterious visitation. The owls, sometimes numbering up to 13, roosted during the day in a small grouping of pines. Us urban humans came by to gawk, and they in turn seemed not the least bit disturbed by it. They slept, stretched, and yawned through it all, and then, just like that they left. They roosted there for several weeks. It's not unsual for male Long-eared owls to form these sort of winter "support" groups. As far as that specific location, one theory was that there was good hunting along an unused rail line near the school; rats, rabbits, mice etc. Whatever the reason, to many of us that went to observe, it seemed like a blessing from Mother Nature.

What is it?

6

November 01, 2010


Is it a turkey? Duck? Goose? Turducken?

It's an odd little engraving from my modest natural history print collection. I bought it with a bunch of other engravings from a small Chicago frame shop years ago. I didn't know anything about the print at the time. I was in grad school then, and had actually bought it and the others for use in an installation.

Years later I finally did a little research on it. It's an engraving done by the naturalist Frederick Polydore Nodder, and is from volume 15 (I believe) of "The Naturalist's Miscellany" from the late 18th century. What exactly this bird is, though, I still have yet to find out. My guess is the Hugely Wattled Something Something. Any ideas? I'll take suggestions, but keep it clean folks. It's only Monday.

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