Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Women Astronauts

Sally Ride

I've been wanting to share Philip Bond's collection of illustrated astraunauts. I was reminded by reading of Sally Ride's death yesterday. Sally Ride was the first US female astronaut, a full two decades after the first female Russian cosmonaut, Valentina Tereshkova. Ride was also a physicist and a tireless advocate for kids' science education. She will be long remembered, as she inspired many.

Valentina Tereshkova

As Bond notes, "Valentina Tereshkova orbited the Earth 48 times during her three day spaceflight in Vostok 6 in 1963. First woman in space!"


"Svetlana Savitskaya became the second woman in space when she flew the Soyuz T-7 to the Salyut 7 space station in 1984. First woman to perform a spacewalk!"


"Sheffield born Helen Sharman spent eight days aboard the Russian Mir space station in 1991 after responding to a radio ad. Helen once worked as a chemist for Mars making chocolate more tasty. First Briton and fifteenth woman in space."


"Ontario born Roberta Bondar became the eighteenth woman in space when she flew aboard Shuttle Discovery's STS-42 mission in 1992. Neurologist, photographer, and Canada's first woman in space!"

The world's first neurologist in space, she is also recognized for her contributions to space medicine. Bondar, like many of my father's family, was born in Sault Ste. Marie. I have an aunt who once worked for her. You can find her photos on her website.


"Medical doctor Chiaki Mukai became the first Japanese woman in space when she flew aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia's STS-65 mission in 1994. She also flew on Shuttle Discovery's STS-95 mission in 1998. 25th woman in space!"

I really appreciate his loose lines, and playful colouring in these near-caricature portraits. It's easy to see how the stories of these women could inspire this collection. You can see the rest of Bond's female astronaut series here and check out his website here.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Spore Addict

I'm enjoying the scientific imagery in Colin Johnson's illustration work, often used metaphorically (fungal spores to symbolize data copying, metamorphosis of caterpillars into butterflies for a story on nuturing small businesses) or sometimes as a straight artistic interpretation of science (like a university magazine cover for a story on microscopy. Cells, spores, butterflies, eyes, nerves, assorted flora and fauna, robots and a surprising number of snowmen abound.

The Pink Opaque, 2008, 6" by 9", mixed media on board

Spore Addict, 2007, Mixed media on canvas, 10 x 8 inches

Greenhouse Gases
Greenhouse Gases, 2010, approx. 8-1/2"W x 10.5"H, Mixed Media on Board

Backup Storage Systems
Replicating Data Storage for Storage Magazine, 8-1/2"W x 11"H, mixed media on board.

Microscopic World
Microscopic World, 2012, approx. 9-1/4"W x 11-1/4"H, Mixed Media on Board. (cover illustration for Washington State Magazine. The piece revolves around the college's dept. of Microscopy & Imaging)

Be sure to check out Colin Johnson's website and his flickr photostream to look at his portfolio.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sir David Attenborough

David Attenborough by Elda The

Sir David Attenborough is one of the most popular naturalists and popularizers of natural science, anywhere in the world. His enthusiasm is infectious. He is articulate, mesmerizing and unfailingly fascinating. It's no wonder he's inspired some art about his passion for the animal world.

Father Earth by
Always With Honor

David Attenborough by Damien Weighill

Wait for it... "this is a camera shutter;" it's worth the wait.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Zaratan

Jacek Yerka, Brontosaurus civitas, acrylic/canvas, size: 55 x 65 cm

There is a story that is told in all lands and throughout all history - the story of sailors who go ashore on an unknown island that later sinks and drowns them, for the island is alive. This imaginary beast-island figures in the first voyage of Sindbad and in the sixth canto of Orlando Furioso (Ch'ella sia usa isoletta ci credemo; "We are all cheated by the floating pile, / And idly take the monster for an isle"); on the Irish legend of St. Brendan and in the Greek bestiary of Alexandria; in the Swedish curate Olaf Magnus' History of the Northern Nations (Rome, 1555) and in the passage in Paradise Lost, Book I, in which the prostrate Satan is compared to a great whale "hap'ly slumbering on the Norway foam."
-Jorge Luis Borges, The Book of Imaginary Beings (El Libro de Los Seres Imaginarios)

Arrivederci, mostro!

by Paulo De Francesco, designed as cover art for Arrivederci Mostro by Ligabue, though they chose a version with a fish-zaratan instead

Often depicted as a giant turtle, like the Turtle Island origin myth common to many Native North American groups, the Zaratan could in fact be any large marine creature, including perhaps the brontosaurus and octupus depicted above and the multi-headed creature below. Scale of these creatures range from the mere rock with driftwood (to perhaps make a camp site) to full continental-scale.

Jill Bliss, Turtle City

Tugboat Printshop, Turtle Island, THE DEEP BLUE SEA Series, 14" x 18" Color Woodcut on Pale Pink Arturo Paper, Paul Roden + Valerie Lueth, 2009.

John Kenn,
Moving Island, drawing on post-it note

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Happy Canada Day

Today I thought we would celebrate Canada's birthday with some irreverent and reverent printmakers.

Zombie Beaver screenprint by Halifax printmaker Geordan Moore (a.k.a. the quarrelsome yeti).

Ode to a Guitar by Peterborough's Jeffrey Macklin of Jackson Creek Press. This is his tribute to Canadian Martin Tielli, lead guitarist for The Rheostatics, and his hand-painted Ibanez double neck 6/12 string electric guitar,with a "never quite presented idea" for the new Canadian flag designed by Group of Seven founder A.Y. Jackson (similar to but distinct from Lester B. Pearson's Pennant).

The Rheostatics made a whole album inspired by the Group of Seven which is quite lovely. This is just a taste I found on-line.

You can't get more Canadian than that.

Lastly, a screenprint which makes me nostalgic. It was in a book of Canadian art my parents had which I would pore over as a child, and shows streetcars, the red rocket, as they were when I was small. I always loved this image.

"Streetcar Headdress" (1972) by Charles Pachter, silkscreen, 60.96 cm x 76.2 cm (courtesy Charles Pachter).

I hope you have a great Canada Day. I plan to spend mine with my better half, whom, incidentally, I first met by a moose sculpture by Charles Pachter


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