Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009. Hello 2010!

As you may have noticed, Bond's Blog is going through a New Year's refurbishment.  So stay tuned, while I work out the html and finalize the tabs.  And all this on it's 300th post!

With the end of a year comes reflection.  I thought I'd take a moment and recap 2009 from a Peter perspective.

Reflections on 2009:
  • It is over a year since I've been back in Vancouver, after living abroad for the previous 3 years.  I've been effectively "stable" for the past year, but I still don't feel "settled."  I'm sure it will come with time.  Just as long as I can repress the urge to grab my pack and run to the airport!
  • I did run to the airport once in 2009 though!  Las Vegas, Baby!  A fun Vegas trip with a couple of buddies, along with some camping and cabin-ing around British Columbia, is the extent of my travels this year.  Quite a reduction from 2008, which included Korea, Japan, and the Philippines...
  • Upon returning back to this beautiful city, I returned to my substitute teaching job.  While I am planning to get my own classroom someday, I was given the opportunity to teach Science 9 in summer school in July!  Quite satisfying to teach an entire course from beginning to end...
  • 2009 has also seen me in two different apartments - the first: an expensive bachelor with a view, the second: a less-expensive one-bedroom ground floor with a garden (and fireplace!) 
  • A huge benefit of the Stable Life is an increase in the amount of art I do.  I've painted more this year than any previous, and that makes me happy!
  • What also makes me happy is my formation of the paleo-art website ART Evolved.  Along with Craig, we've managed to create an expanding community of artists and scientists, who create, discuss, challenge, teach, experiment, and appreciate all things prehistoric art!  ART Evolved has er.. evolved and grown more then either of us expected - culminating with a featured interview and article in EARTH Magazine!  (My thanks to all the talented friends I've made on this adventure this year!)
  • With great highs also comes great lows.  2009 was the year we had to put down my dog Toby.  This was one of the most painful experiences of my life, as Toby was part of my life for 13 years.
  • This was also a great year for visiting friends.  My English roommate Emily came to visit for a few weeks in April, as did a couple of my Lookout Crew friends Marianne and Duncan in the summer!  It was a blast seeing them and catching up.  Miss you all!
  • For the past 15 years, the local theater group I belong to, SMP Dramatic Society, has been putting on traditional pantomimes every January.  This year, it is The Wizard of Oz and I've delved headlong into the production - not only as Set Designer, but also acting as the classic Dame, Aunt Em!  Yes ladies and gentlemen, this role requires a bit of cross-dressing, but don't fret - this is classic pantomime!  But I'll tell you, double H-cups are really big!

So ends 2009, a transition year.  A creative year.  A year of coming together.  But what of 2010?  What do we have to look forward to next year?
  • The Wizard of Oz run at the end of January...
  • A month of artistic collaboration with Craig, as he visits for the Olympics in February...
  • And of course, the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games! 43 days until the torch is lit...
Hmm, after February, 2010 is quite open...   Suggestions?  Come visit!  This is an open invitation to you to come see this beautiful city of mine.  Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Finishing the Stegosaur

Continuing the progress on my Stegosaur, it became apparent that the background I painted just wasn't cutting it.  The decision was made to keep the painted dinosaur with all it's millions of scales and put him into one of my photographs (a beach in Donsol, in the Philippines). 

Add a few pterosaurs (Kepodactylus insperatus), and we have a lovely Stegosaurus stenops in a recreation from the Morrison Formation!

Evening Stroll on the Beach
(Click to see every scale!)

There was a reason behind creating this moody Stegosaur piece:  for submission to Prehistoric Times magazine!  Along with Mr. Stego, I'm also submitting my Anomalocaris painting and cartoon, with the hope that at least one of these getting published.

Anomalocaris and the Burgess Shale

Anomalocaris Regret

Either way, look to the next issue (#92) of Prehistoric Times for some great art, and just maybe you'll see one of these guys here!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

A Quick Stegosaurus

Photo referenceStegosaurus stenops at Discovery Place, Charlotte, NC - taken by midwinter.

Materials: pencil on glossy paper, acrylics, brushes, water...

Progress:  Fair, but this WIP still unfinished.
I plan to add more detail to skin and scales, and contemplate a subtle sunset...
(Click on any of the pics to enlarge them.) 

UPDATE Dec 3rd:

Here I have begun adding scales to the stegosaur. 
So far, only the hind leg and part of the tail has been scaled...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Origin Day!

Today marks the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin publishing his masterpiece The Origin of Species

One of these days, I'll have to actually finish reading the whole thing through...

(left) The triptych painting of The Evolution of Darwin: Boy, Traveler, Thinker I painted for this year's Darwin Day Celebration.

... I leave you with a picture (below) I took of the man back in 2006 at the London Natural History Museum, before he was moved.

Darwin and Huxley having lunch with their adoring public!
This was before they moved Darwin to the top of the steps in the Main Hall, replacing Richard Owens.
I wonder where Owens ended up?

Monday, November 09, 2009

Museums I've Been To: Europe - Part 1: Berlin

Berlin, Germany. 2002.

Our tour through the museums of 2002 Europe begins with the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin. Established in 1810, this is a world-class institution containing two of palaeontology's crown jewel specimens - the Giraffatitan (Brachiosaurus) mount and the Berlin Archaeopteryx. I visited the museum in the summer of 2002, and it has since had a major refit and renovation, so much of what I will show here has changed. If anyone has descriptions of the new layout, I would love to hear it.
Archaeopteryx lithographica

Upon entering the museum, you are immediately dwarfed by the huge main gallery and its centerpiece, the brachiosaur (I will henceforth be incorrectly referring to the Giraffatitan as Brachiosaurus as I was in 2002 and because I want to. She will always be Brachiosaurus in my heart...) Flanking the gigantic sauropod are two more: a cast of the ubiquitous Carnegie Diplodocus and a lovely Dicraeosaurus.

(left) Me and Megalodon's Jaws.

The rest of the photographs speak for themselves. Most of the dinosaur fossils on display were collected during the 1903-1913 Tendaguru Expedition to East Africa (southern Tanzania). Led by Werner Janensch and Edwin Henning, over 250 tons of fossil bone was collected from this 150 million year old Late Jurassic deposit.

Giraffatitan brancai (Brachiosaurus)

Dicraeosaurus hansemanni
See the new mount in this wikipedia photo!

Kentrosaurus aethiopicus
It's new mount can be seen in the dicreasaur photo.

Plateosaurus engelhardti

Elaphrosaurus bambergi
Click here for the new mount!!! It doesn't even look like the same animal!

Dryosaurus (Dysalotosaurus) lettowvorbeck
See the updated mount here...

Stenopterygius zetlandicus

Some nothosaur (name?)

The Second Oldest Turtle = Proganochelys dux

Case of Swimming Things: Fish, seals, penguins, dolphins, ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs.

The museum and some of the collections were damaged in February of 1945, when an allied bombing raid left the east wing in ruins. It is now finally being rebuilt.

Amazingly, Wikipedia states that less than 1 in 5000 specimens are on display! I'd love to poke around in their extensive collections and see what treasures I could find...

Thank you for joining me on this quick tour. But don't take my word for it, go to the Museum für Naturkunde the next time you're in Berlin, and say hello to my Brachio!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Berlin Giraffatitan Reconstruction

Giraffatitan brancai Restoration - The New Berlin Mount

With ART Evolved's Sauropod Gallery up in all it's glory, I quietly added one more piece from me - a brachiosaur in pen-and-ink with dot-shading. Officially, it is a reconstruction of the new mount of the Berlin Brachiosaurus ...err... Giraffatitan branchai.

Giraffatitan. A name just not as cool as ol'Brachio. If you're interested in why this specimen was renamed, check out here and here. My interest lies not in the new name, but with the new mount.

Back in the summer of 2002, I traveled around Europe by train (good ol'Eurorail!), checking out the many museums and beer halls the UK, Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium and Germany has to offer.

Besides the beer, wine, rich food and chocolate consumed, one of my favorite things I found in Europe was the Berlin Brachiosaur - yes, still Brachiosaurus in 2002 - at the
Museum für Naturkunde Berlin. It was huge - a mighty testament to an amazing animal as well as to the scientists who discovered, prepared and mounted her. Umm, created her mount. Yeah.

Still the tallest mounted skeleton in the world, the Berlin Brachiosaur was updated when the museum underwent renovations. Gone were the elbows-out arms and draggy tail. Now she strides elegantly in lovely Greg Paul-style, head held high and arms underneath.

You can see the transformation from the original pose in these 2002 pictures (before digital panorama ability!) and the new pose in the Wikipedia picture at the top of the post. Next to that new mounted Giraffatitan is my pen drawing of the animal reconstructed. As you can see, I moved the positioning of the back legs, to make it look more stable where it stands.

I love this specimen - one of my favorites out there, and when sauropods became the next ART Evolved gallery, it seemed right to reconstruct the Giraffatitan. (Though she'll always be the ol'definitive Brachiosaurus to me.)

Having delved into these old European museum photos, I feel the need to share them. And so begins a new series here on Bond's Blog - A Photographic Tour of Museums I've Been To: Europe - Part 1: Berlin. Coming soon...

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Sauropod Gallery is UP!

Check out the HUGE Sauropod Gallery over at ART Evolved - it really is as gigantic as the beasts we reconstruct!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sauropod Liveblogging 15: FINISHED (for now)

Here we are with the finished piece - well not quite, but it is as much as I am going to do today! 2:00 am and time for bed. That was a blast, a whole day - 15 hours of painting and blogging. All it needs now is a name: Rearing in the Rain. Umm... maybe. With that, I bid you goodnight.

Music: none, except for the sounds of snoring...

Sauropod Liveblogging 14: Rain Splashes

Dinos in the Rain. Does this work? I don't think it is too much, do you? Maybe need more rain shafts and perhaps blur out the forest more...

Music: I Gotta Feeling by Black Eyed Peas, Numb by Linkin Park, Stockholm Syndrome by Muse.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sauropod Liveblogging 13: Rain

So here is an hour's experimenting with rain. Certainly makes the piece more moody...
Will be continuing with the rain, hopefully not adding too much...
Midnight here in the rainy city...

Music: All Apologies by Nirvana, Better Man by Pearl Jam, Vertigo by U2, Smile by Lily Allen

Sauropod Liveblogging 12: Scales

Scales now...just dots, but they work! 11pm here and craving food. Think I'll finish tonight? That's the plan. At some point we will be bringing the rain. Anyone know the best non-digital way to add the impression of rain?

I am back to listening to music: Tango Shoes by Bif Naked, Grey Street by Dave Matthews Band, 1234 by Feist

Sauropod Liveblogging 11: Spines

Spines were added to the back of the barosaur and need to be continued down his tail. Starting to slow down...need coffee and a kick in the pants!

But the Canucks WON!!! 2-1 against the Wild!