February 23, 2010

Alticamelus – A Giant Camel

Filed under: My Drawings/Paintings,Palaeo-Art — sarah @ 9:43 pm


I decided that the description of Therizinosaurs mouths and nose sounded similar to camels and I think this would go with the browsing behaviour they are thought to have had.

So I decided to draw the giant prehistoric camel from the kids how to draw book. I did the pencil construction lines and then inked in – I’m not actually happy with it but as it is only to get an idea of one part of the dino I want to draw I’m not going to re-do it and to be fair I did have a 4 yr old jumping on me :/

Construction lines of Giant Camel Alticamelus

February 22, 2010


Filed under: My Drawings/Paintings,Palaeo-Art — sarah @ 5:02 pm


I chose to draw an archaeopteryx next as it has feathers on it would appear that Therizinosaurs had feathers! Again the outline came from the kids how to draw dinosaurs book. I did a pencil construction using all the simple geometric shapes, then inked in an outline discovering feathers are not a strong point! Then I filled it in with a downy fluff to see what it would look like!

Pencil construction of Archaeoptryx Outline of Archaeopteryx Archaeopteryx

Struthiomimus – The Ostrich Dinosaur

Filed under: My Drawings/Paintings,Palaeo-Art — sarah @ 2:39 pm

Struthiomimus with ornamentation

I picked this dinosaur to draw from the How To Draw Dinosaurs book because was the closest in there to Therizinosaurs – obviously the rib cage flares out on Therizinosaurs and stuff like that but it is somewhere to start!

Plus I’ve drawn the grand total of two dinosaurs before this both from the book! I initially bought it for my brother!

Anyway I used the construction lines in the book – got the head circle in the wrong place initially and everything and then inked in the outline. I bogged the tail and so put ornamentation on to hide it and the fact the head had gone wonky! I have no idea what sort of skin/feather/downy fur thesse creatures might have had but I like the patterning and little frill I’ve given my Struthiomimus!

Constructed sketch of dinosaur Inked in Outline Struthiomimus with ornamentation

Stop Procrastinating! Start Drawing!

Filed under: Art and Drawings,Palaeo-Art — sarah @ 2:27 pm

Drawing materials

I’m using two different sizes of sketch book for this project – the large one is A4 and were I’ll do the later sketches the smaller A5 is were I want to do sketches of animals I think will help me construct the Therizinosaur.

Anyway I flicked through the books and have decided which animals too sketch and so shall begin and stop procastinating πŸ™‚

The Beginning of Dino-Art

Filed under: Art and Drawings,Palaeo-Art — sarah @ 12:44 pm

Well I decided to go and hunt out some books that I thought would help me draw the Therizinosaurs, these are Vertebrate Palaeontology (Michael J. Benton), an ancient book called Fossil Amphibians and Reptiles (W. E. Swinton), Draw 50 Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals (Lee J. Ames), and Animal Anatomy for Artists (Elliot Goldfinger).

Dino Art Books

I like starting projects off by doing a simple version of it hence the kids how to draw book – however I was very sad to find that damp has come through my bedroom wall and damaged the book quiet badly but I am also lucky that it only got this book :/ I of course bought the book when I was at the Natural History Museum!

Anyway – I am now going to spend the next little while scouring these books and looking at the pictures before I even start to draw!

I have also finally found a picture of a skull and it’s from the Bristol University website which cheered me up. Purely because Bristols in easy getting to distance and not in America :/ Silly I know.

Of Live-Blogging and Dino-Art

Filed under: Art and Drawings,Palaeo-Art,Science and Art — sarah @ 10:43 am

I haven’t blogged on here for a while but do not fear this has been due to being too productive rather than being unproductive and I shall go and fill in the archive when I get a moment!

Also I know the posts normally arrive on a Sunday but I have found this excellent artist collective called ART Evolved and I even managed to submit something to their last time capsule!

I am now taking part in ‘live-blogging’ the process of producing my piece for the next time capsule and as I have only a week to get this thing drawn I can taste the pressure. The challenge is to create a piece of work based on the therizinosaur dinosaurs and as the Royal School of Mines changed their teaching policy for the last year of my degree I never got to do vertebrate palaeontology – something I was deeply disappointed about (I even tried to change to the four year course because of it but it was too late) – anyway this means that I hadn’t even heard of these creatures!

It seems odd to me now as dinosaurs were on of the reasons I’d gone off to do geology in the first place! And My four year old has just done dinosaurs at school. Of course being me I probably have heard of them and have just forgotten!

My first port of call was to look in the vertebrate palaeontology book I have (I bought the text book before I found out they’d fiddled with the course and used to read it in Hyde Park when bored – yes I know but I am a geek). This had barely a page and only one scematic of a skeleton and a bit of history. Not really enough to go on.

I did some internet research last night and felt abit over whelmed by how I was going to construct this creature that seems to have kept shifting it’s place in the world of Palaeo. I sort of like to have a premise for my drawings, i.e. creating a world or a message or during my degree diagrams – I loved doing diagrams πŸ™‚

But I didn’t really want to paint a landscape for this creature – I wanted to do something a bit more akin to a diagram but not! (yeah I know probably not making much sense here!)

I was also pondering which one of the ‘possible’ therizinosaur dinosaurs depictions should I go for?

Then an idea occured to me – why not do a sort of time line of the evolution of the concept of these dinos? Of course this seems like a huge task and I probably will not get that finished for the deadline for the time capsule but I should think that in working towards it I will produce something I can submit πŸ™‚

I am actually very excited about this as I love fusing science and art πŸ™‚

June 7, 2009

Crossing the Boundaries of Science and Art

Filed under: Art and Drawings,Events,Science and Art — sarah @ 8:15 pm

Cheltenham is famed for its festivals and has a Science Festival ironically as I am a trained scientist (geology) I found out about the Science Festival last year from a poet!

This year there was an ecological art space organised with the Environment Agency where the Biologist and Artist Dr Lizzie Burns and her friend Matt where helping people explore the natural world through art. Getting children especially or so it seemed to me! to think about the world and our impact of the environment.

My little girl had a great time painting our garden onto the big white column just outside the Environment Agency Cafe. I had to label things as being 3yrs old some of the things were not that obvious. There were pots of clay and a watering can of water to make a ‘paint’ out of the clay and then lots of paint brushes!

working on the pond now Jean painting tadpoles ecology and nature art gets big Clay painted wall

Lizzie said it was great to work big like this and I felt it contrasted very well with Matt’s seeds – he had a table with different types of seeds on it – wild banana, seeds that float on the sea, a tub of 20 different tree seeds and so on. He then gave the children the option of making seeds out of clay themselves or drawing some. There were two colours of clay red/brown and white clay.

There where lots colouring pens and things avaliable for the children to colour there seeds and decorate them if they wished – my three year olds seeds were basically clay blobs with no colour on them but hey she tried πŸ™‚

seeds from clay

I am myself known (on twitter at least! plus in various poetry and science groups) as the Artistic Scientist or the Scientific Artist – you choose because I can’t/wont! So I was very excited to find someone who not only is trying to cross the percieved boundaries between these two areas but is being active and successful with it. She runs workshops on lots of fun things using art to interest people in science and to explore science giving it back the sense of adventure that is often lost in modernity.

She also makes fantastic molecular jewellery which is an idea me and Ella (Chemist come writer/poet/photographer) during our undergraduates but we never got around to doing anything about it – the closes I got is making tertiary and quarternary structures out of my wire working and thinking about protiens :). Lizzies work is bueatful and she embroiders ties and things.

If I had more money than I currently do I would get some of the jewellery for Ella as a congratulations presant on completing her PhD! (Ella if I ever get out of debt name your molecule!).

My Geo-Vases are probably the closest I come in the visual arts to this kind of thing (not sure that loo roll hubbles and pompom comets count!).

May 17, 2009

Arty Hospital

Filed under: Art and Drawings,Science and Art — sarah @ 11:10 am

I have unfortunatly ended up in hospital recently but this turned out to be quiet a creative thing to happen – first off I ended up writing poetry and a short story for my duaghter and then I scetched an idea of the view from the hospital window (drawing with a canular in is a bit of an issue as bending arm is not really ideal :/). It was a sketch of what was there as such but the bits of the landscape I wanted to keep for a future picture and possible story. In biro in a reporters note pad – and its not very good!

But it also ment I got to see my Art teatchers work – Gloucester Royal has a lot of art and stuff lurking I assume to cheer up the staff and patients – in one of the main walkways by the reception there is a section of wall that is pieces of plaster moulded into various shapes – including two feet places above the end of a wooden bed sted – giving the illusion of a plaster patient asleep inside the wall.

The 3D topical relief on this piece of work lent it a depth and the plaster casts where of various things like stethoscopes, and vials, plus a doll and her foot steps πŸ™‚ He’d told me in class that he had turned up at the hospital with bowls of sand and mixing stuff for the plaster – set it up on tables and then got passers by to stick objects into the sand and gently take them out again. He then poured the paster of paris in to the impression in the sand. Eventually it hardened and he took out the casts – they are coated in sand most of which he brushed off leaving a little to bring out the definition of the finer detail of the object.

Obviously a lot of the casts weren’t any good as they had bubbles and things in them and Mark said some of the things people decided he should try and cast couldn’t really go up! :/ But he viewed it as a community project and I personally think its one of the best pieces of hospital I have seen and as I’ve used to go to Chelsea and Westminster hospital that is saying something!

March 24, 2009

Ada Lovelace Day – Mary Dixon Kies

Filed under: Science and Art — sarah @ 11:39 am

Today is Ada Lovelace Day – a day in which to blog about women in technology who have inspired you or who you admire.

Craft and technology are inextricably linked so I have hunted down Mary Dixon Kies the first female to be given a US patent for a weaving technique that was important to the New England economy in the 1800’s as she came up with a way of weaving straw with silk or thread. This was a revolutionary new technique that boosted up the hat making industry.

At the time women wore staw hats in the fields to work and with looming war in Europe imports were being stopped. Mary’s process was imensly important resulting in praise from government albeit through the Presidents Wife. The technique was used for over a decade but the importants of what she did may lay more in the fact that she was the first woman to apply for a patent in her own name.

This set a president and though she is one of only 20 women to have recieved a patent before 1840 she started the trend. Women inventors did not see much point in getting their inventions patented at this juncture in history as they could not own anything or take credit for things in their own right – anything they earned belonged to their husbands so most thought what was the point.

Mary broke this pattern on 5 May 1809.

Unfortunatly for Mary her friends and family fashions changed and straw hats were out resulting in them loosing what they had gained – she died penniless but there is a monument to her in Old South Killingly cemetery and her impact on history is worth noting.

March 8, 2009

Tech Adventure – The Crossover of Craft and Technology

I went to Tech Adventure at the Trinity Arts Centre last weekend. This event brings together computer programmers, inventors, roboticists and people who generally like to make things.

Obviously I didn’t understand a lot of the technical detail of the projects that people bought along to display but I could see potential there for the arts and craft community. For a start there was a thing called a Reprap which is a 3D printer. This has huge potential and is designed so that you can basically build your own and then then get it to build ones for your friends. It built the shapes up out of plastic thread that was being fed into it. The shapes it can do are currently limited but even they are quite impressive and would have use in craft projects. Then I found out that it’s the same plastic that milk bottles are made out of so it could have huge implications for home recycling.

3d printer - reprap the gubbins

The man who had brought it was discussing various things such as how to build up shapes with overhangs on them and mentioned the words ‘sugar paste’. Apparently they have a nozzle that does sugar paste to build up support structures to get more intracate shapes and then they wash the sugar paste off. I then got very excited and asked if you could build things like the glass they had there out of the sugar paste – completely – he said yes!

Here are some of the things it made:

wine glass and thing with thing inside shoes

This would be fantastic for cake decorating I feel. He said the only issue with that would be that after an hour the sugar paste turns to syrup and the nozzles stop working which is something I think could definitly be worked around, though the shape you are making is perfectly fine!

A little more probing on our part found that though they had not done high melting point things like glass they thought it would be useful for ceramics which is cool πŸ™‚ Also one of the things that really bugs me about the lost wax process in metal casting is that you spend ages making the wax object and you can only get one casting out of it. This machine alters that as you could have the object saved as a computer file and it would build as many as you wanted out of the wax!

There were so many other things there too and the crossover of people who do techy stuff and those who make/draw is phonomenally high. This I believe is because to make craft objects you need to be a sort of engineer even if you don’t realise it and to draw good pictures you need something similar. To come up with your own projects you need to be creative and in order for the technical people to do what they do they have to be creative – creativity is a layer above science and art or technology and craft, or poetry and programming.

The dichotomy between the sciences and arts does not really exist, it is an artifact of our society – good artists tend to be grounded in some sort of science, tech, or maths whether they realise it or not!

I went to a fantastic talk on this at last year’s Cheltenham Literature Festival.

I even read out some of my poetry at this and one more Wiggly Pet also got a good home. It went to the first person to tell me how many programming languages I had in the poem! I actually gave two away though as there was a little boy in a tigger suit who wanted one so desperately.

Another thing that came out of this is that there is a Maker Faire this month – 14-15 March at the Newcastle Science Fair. I can’t go but it looks interesting.

Also it is because of this that I am now considering making special funky cases for computers though as I am obsessed with paper mΓ’chΓ© at the moment, I am having to resist the urge to do every project in that medium!

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