2017 GNSI Members Exhibit
Reconstructing Three New Rodent-like Jurassic Mammals of China
The purpose of the image is to reconstruct the fossil record of these early rodent-like mammals of the Jurassic. So the public may better understand how they may have lived, hunting for insects in gingko trees and the comparatively small size they are.
We were very fortunate to have six fossils with relatively complete skeletons to take our measurements from. Comparing to other moderate tree climbers: Eomaia scansoria and Sinodelphis szalayi, we could reconstruct the skeleton thus then the muscle and finally the fleshed out for all three. These stages were rendered on over-laying vellum as to build on previous information. Comparing to modern tree climbers, Honey opossums and American opossum, grip and attitude of posture could be developed. With fossil records of gingko (climbing amongst) and insects (their food), then comparing to modern specimens of my personal collection of plants and insects, we could reconstruct the tree and insects teaming about the inflorescences an opportune local for our critters to find food. These images of each component: final pencil line arts, color pencil over-lays, were. then scanned and assembled in Adobe Photoshop with digital cleaning and enhancing done to better develop the image.
Seaweed - Mothership
Seaweed - Mothership is the seventh installment in Preston Montague's ethnobotanical graphic novel entitled, Codex Carolinum. Using the alphabet as a structure, Codex Carolinum is a survey of native plants of NC designed to encourage natural science literacy. Serving as the 'S' in this alphabet series, Seaweed (Sargassum sp.) is introduced as the hair shed from Mother Ocean, washing up on shore and carrying nutrients to start life on land.
Each illustration in Codex Carolinum is drawn from both life and from digital images. Generally, Preston spends time seeking out and sketching the featured plant in the wild, and returning to his studio to develop the sketches into a finished piece using digital imagery and literature to embellish.
Exploration of low tide seaweed for portfolio.
While at the Golden Apple Art Residency in Harrington, Maine, I was fascinated by the exposed sea bed, visible at low tide and how the power of the waves shaped the seaweed. For two weeks I observed, researched, painted and photographed what I found. This painting is one of the results of my work.
Ensuring the Next Generation
This digital painting of spawning pickerel (walleye) was produced as part of a larger interpretive panel titled 'Keeping Fish Populations Afloat', which now stands along the Icelandic River in Arborg, Manitoba, Canada. The panel's intent was to educate the public on the importance of fish ladders for maintaining breeding populations.
I've spent many occasions with a local commercial fisherman, handling pickerel (walleye) and seeing their colours outside of the water. I combined that first-hand knowledge with underwater photographs as references for the fish. The setting is a composite image of a photograph I took of the bottom substrate of Lake Winnipeg overlaid with many painted layers.
African Popcorn Plant (Senna didymobotrya)
The original graphite drawing was done in preparation to do a painting for a project called 'Duets'. This series highlights unique tropical plant adaptations and relationships that have evolved with insects, animals or people. The project's goal is to promote educational awareness of the intricate interdependence of species within tropical ecosystems, as well as our own dependence on plants.
The African Popcorn Plant blooms fairly regularly at the Bloedel Conservatory in Vancouver, BC. It's a favorite with visitors, because when you rub the stem, it smells like buttered popcorn! I chose to include this plant in my project not only because of its interesting botanical structure, but also because of its medicinal value (along with other beneficial uses) utilized widely across its native habitat of East and South Africa.
I focused on doing a macro piece to bring attention to the complex architecture of the plant - rarely noticed by visitors because the flower stalk (with buds) measures only 6 to 8 inches in height. I drew the live plant at the Conservatory, made color notes, and took a number of reference photographs. I then did a black and white tonal drawing in graphite at 500% to work out values and possible issues before starting on the final watercolor painting.
This piece was a component in signage on the Soundside Pier at the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island to illustrate the early use of native plants by Native Americans in North Carolina. It accompanied other historical information about the area. Exhibit copy below:
Native Americans and English Explorers:
Roanoke Island was a tourist attraction more than a millennium before Europeans set foot on it. While crops ripened, inhabitants of the coastal plain routinely came east for sustenance, relief from summer heat, and a caffeine life from yaupon, a native holly. In July 1584, Algonquian-speaking natives at a likely seasonal site on the north end of the island entertained explorers sent by Sir Walter Raleigh. English colonists followed in 1585 and again in 1587, but failed to establish a foothold in North America. Their efforts, however, led to permanent English settlement beginning at Jamestown in 1607.
Yaupon, Ilex vomitoria, is one of three native evergreen hollies commonly found on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The name means little tree in the Catawban language, and it was known to the Cherokees as the beloved tree.Yaupon grows on rear dunes near the ocean, in thicket woods, in the maritime forest and on wetland edges. Containing more caffeine than any other North American plant, its leaves were used by Native Americans to brew a strong drink for ceremonial purposes. It remained a popular tea plant in the South through the 19th century.
This specimen was drawn from life. I researched regional history, recipes for yaupon tea and interviewed older residents of the Outer Banks who experienced this tea growing up.
Cellular Landscape of the Human Immuno-Peptidome
The major histocompatibility complex (MHC, blue proteins) is a set of cell surface proteins essential for the acquired immune system to recognize foreign molecules. The main function of MHC molecules is to display peptides (spheres, different colors) derived from pathogens and display them on the cell surface for recognition by the appropriate T-cells (green transparent cells).
The collection of such peptides displayed on the cell surface by MHC molecules is defined as the cellular immuno-peptidome.
The specific goal of this illustration was to visualize the high number and diversity of different MHC peptide complexes, as this complexity of the immuno-peptidome is not yet appreciated by the scientific community. I chose an extreme perspective allowing seeing details in the foreground and high numbers of the MHC peptide complexes in the background.
This illustration will be used to promote the Human Immuno-Peptidome Project on several websites, as a potential cover with Nucleic Acid Research for the annual database special issue (August 2017) and on a poster to promote the First International HUPO workshop on the Human Immuno-Peptidome Project (HIPP) held at ETH Zürich (Switzerland) in May 2017.
Client: Institute of Molecular Systems Biology at ETH Zürich, Switzerland.
I studied current literature about the immuno-peptidome to understand the process of MHC peptide presentation and its function in the immune response. During different discussions with researchers of the Institute of Molecular Systems Biology at ETH Zürich (Switzerland), we identified the main goals of the illustration. To create the actual illustration, I looked more into the actual structure of MHC molecules, T cells and T cell receptors. I also looked at microscopy images of different tissue samples as references to draw the cells for the landscape.
Birch Polypore (Piptoporus betulinus)
This piece was created as a personal exploration and learning experience in illustrating fungi.
I found the specimen while walking in the woods north of Toronto, on a fallen birch tree that had collapsed near a riverbank. I illustrated the fungus from a variety of different view angles to emphasize how the form emerges from the trunk. The goldenrod standing at right provides both a counterpoint to the fungus’ form, and orientation to the fallen, horizontal tree trunk.
To blend didactic faithfulness to the subject with aesthetic appeal, I created an impressionistic media effect in the background to suggest a tangle of grasses and weeds, and added a calligraphic element to enhance both information and visual appeal.
The original was exhibited in Focus on Nature XIII, and is now in the permanent collection of the New York State Museum.
To research the piece, I sketched the specimen directly onsite, and also shot numerous reference photographs from which I worked later in the studio. I also collected a file of supplemental reference information and imagery in order to learn more about the species and its place in the ecology of the region.
Four Leaf Clover (Trillium repens)
Four Leaf Clover: This is a traditional botanical painting, on a white background. The paper is Fabriano Uno, 300 weight, soft press. Common symbols of good luck, four leaf clovers are a rare form of normally three-leafed white clover (Trifolium repens, meaning three-leafed, creeping). Five, six, seven and even eight-leaf clovers occur occasionally. Clover is a perennial legume in the pea family that fixes nitrogen from the air into small nodules occurring on the roots. The pinkish nodules provide natural fertilizer for the soil. Clover spreads through an underground mass of roots. The leaflets frequently show the characteristic light, chevron-shaped markings. White clover flowers vary from white to pinkish and are a favorite food source for honey bees.
This painting is based on observations of white clover growing naturally and its roots, dug up to show the nitrogen nodules and the root mass.
This is a graphical abstract describing the research of Dr. Robert Brown, Director of the Bioeconomy Institute, Pyrolysis Process Development Unit (PPDU) located at the BioCentury Research Farm at Iowa State University. The visual abstract summarizes “ Authothermal Pyrolysis, which is a mechanism used to intensify and increase the rate in which biomass can be processed for energy in a given-size reactor. Just as wood is converted to charcoal through fire, domestic biomass, like leaves and husks, can be converted to products used to create low-carbon biofuels. The key here is the addition of oxygen with the biomass components, such as lignin and cellulose shown on the left side, entering the reactor unit.
The chemical structures and the process of autothermal pyrolysis were researched for accurate depiction of biomass molecules, of which lignin was the most difficult to create.
In collaboration with the NGO, The Biodiversity Group, the purpose of this piece is to underscore unique behaviors by often overlooked and threatened forms of life. In this case, a male glass frog is watching over his offspring as they develop in an arboreal egg mass overhanging a montane stream in the eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains.
This image was rendered from a glass frog (Nymphargus wileyi) that was observed while conducting biodiversity surveys in the cloud forests of Ecuador.