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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Video Advertising for the Art Show

I'm still insanely busy right now. But here's something new I can show off to the world: a quick video I made to alert the world about the art show!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Dinosaurs & Robots


Edit: Here's the show in progress.

I also did a video announcing the show for You Tube:



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And:

Thursday, July 28, 2011


This:

  1. crisis
  2. crisis
  3. crisis
  4. crisis
  5. crisis
  6. crisis
  7. crisis precipitated by the resolution of previous crises
  8. new crisis
  9. further crisis
  10. additional crisis
The hiatus is now on, until further notice.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Where Eagles Fish

Got back from Seward 20 July. Working on stuff like this (in addition to a new resume):

So, a bit busy. Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Pachyrhinosaurus: An Experiment

I did this in two days, and it is now available as a photo print directly from the artist (me) for $75 and shipping:
And I did this as an experiment. I've been trying to get faster at some of the turnaround on my work. Now, the subject is pretty familiar (one of my favorite subjects, in fact), I had a few models on hand already (I didn't really have to design from utter scratch), aimed for a less rendered style, preferring something more graphic, and I've even lots of experience with even the most painful aspect of the picture (the horsetails, of which I've painted godzillions at this stage).

But the idea that I can compose, choose a color palette, design, block and fill a drawing/painting in less than two days is now feasible to me. I still need to get faster, I feel, as well as better, but this is a solid start.

(Note: this isn't a promise that every project I undertake can be completed this quickly, merely a step in my education as I look towards altering my workflow and develop a production environment.)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

An Open Letter to Richard Dawkins

Dr. Dawkins,


So this happened, and as of this writing, you haven't offered any apology. I don't know what will happen, but Rebecca Watson has been nothing but perfectly reasonable throughout this.


You are, at times, an effective speaker, an eloquent writer, and this is why many people are, I think, so surprised by your reaction to Watson's original issue.


So I hope you'll apologize and mean it, and not do this again, and perhaps think about what you write a little more before writing it. But if you're thinking you're not actually deeply in the wrong here, and do not intend to apologize, or actually intend to entrench into the posture you've assumed for yourself, you should know something.


You've often defended feminism against religion's more odious transgressions, but you are now well on your way to not only diminishing what you've done, but undoing it completely.  People don't like being told their problems are tiny compared to the problems of the world. Relatively speaking, every problem, big and small, is tiny when compared to something larger.


When you deflect the concerns of someone who has had their tea poisoned by ironically suggesting that this is as large or larger an issue than a thousand people dying of drought, it raises legitimate doubts about your previous work.


And you need to understand this, in order to be effective and trustworthy on this matter in the future.


I'm actually going to close with a piece of Biblical advice, one which I often endorse to creationists who dismiss the knowledge and expertise of scientists, because it now applies to you:


Luke 16:10-12, KJV:  "10He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

11If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
12And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?"


(And here's the New Living Translation: 
10 “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. 11 And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? 12 And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?")

Yours in all sincerity, S.E.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My #10oclockart for Twitter

Screenshot off the tablet:
How's that TikiCosmonaut coming along?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Cars 2

We went to it. We saw it. We enjoyed it.

Of course, it won't be a hit with everyone, but artists and animators who understand and enjoy the art of caricature should get a kick out of it. Is it better than Cars? Eh, not really. Is it better than Toy Story, I think so. And how was the short? Pretty kickass, honestly.

For some reason, every time I see a PIXAR film, I'm awfully tempted to fire up Sarcosuchus_imperator and do a CG project. If only it weren't so expensive in terms of electricity to run Maya and the RAID it runs on... (I really kind of need to be paid to run the big iron these days, but, that might not be enough to stop me.) I think it's worth pointing out that few other CG films really give me this sort of thrill. Dreamworks, for all of its efforts (even the good ones), never really makes the level of energy it takes to actually inspire me to create something. Non-PIXAR Disney often has a similar problem, as does Warner's animation. Exceptions are pretty notable, however, even if the CG is comparatively minimal.

It's also worth seeing on the big screen. The grandeur and effort in terms of shaders and lighting PIXAR invested into Tokyo, Italy, and London for these virtual locations are nothing short of amazing, and are packed with humor (subtle and otherwise). (Of course, not owning a large flat panel liquid plasma LCD display teevee, perhaps this is a distinction that's sort of lost on folk nowadays.)

All in all: worth it, and I'll see it again.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Cars. Is an argument for Intelligent Design Creationism. Cars. Really.

And then this happened. If this is satire, it ought to be on the Onion, it's that brilliant. If not, well, wow that's just ... I honestly know of no way to end this sentence.

(I just put "Cars" and "creationism" tags onto the same post. Is this even possible? I didn't get a whole lot of sleep last night. Maybe I've drifted off to sleep at my workstation and merely dreamed all this.)

I'll check back tomorrow.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cars is a work of fiction. Cars 2 will be, too. You should probably know this.

So. This happened. You should go read it.

You should probably know I enjoyed Cars. I will also be seeing the sequel in theaters, because I have seen all of their films in theaters, and don't intend to miss it. Even so, I sort of wish Trish had inverted the order of topics in her article--the Jurassic Part IV why commentary is funny and insightful.

But, with regard to Cars, here are the issues:

"It's explicitly been made as a moneymaker, even though PIXAR doesn't really need one."

Every studio needs moneymakers. This is how the artists involved with the project get paid. PIXAR makes money, and they make moneymakers. This allows them to continue to hire artists and animators. This is a good thing.

"Why the hell are we not getting an 'Incredibles' sequel instead of this?"

Because "The Incredibles" is Brad Bird's property, and he's open to a sequel if he can come up with an equivalent or better story. That's why.

"It's fairly common knowledge that "Cars" is widely considered the "least best" PIXAR film."

I don't. I regard PIXAR's first feature length film, Toy Story, as its weakest entry. It's still a pretty good film, but it was also their first film, and one might expect that. I'm also perfectly comfortable with breaking ranks with other PIXAR fans over this issue; they don't see Cars the way I do, and after reading what Trish has written, I now understand why.

I don't think their reasons have much validity beyond "it wasn't my bag," which is perfectly fair. But many of the objections concern things which are either silly or irrelevant to want in a film like Cars.

"First off, [Cars is] very definitely a film for little kids."

Yes, animation companies occasionally do this. Doing so doesn't always necessarily distract from the experience of watching it (cf. Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, &c.). My experience watching Cars differed from Trish's, however, in that I actually really enjoyed the film. I'm nearly 40, and so hardly in the targeted demographic Trish suggests the film is for. (I do, however, collect toys, so, you know, there's that, though not any of the Cars toys.) Oddly enough, even my Dad seemed to enjoy it. And my Dad actually hates animation. Cars might be for the little kids in all of us. That sometimes happens, too.

"As in, it makes no damn sense, and the more you're forced to think about it, the further you're sucked out of the story."

This is a criticism which I always found silly, frankly. The world of Cars is obviously one of cars, of automobiles; where we would see faces (as pareidolia, no less), in the world of Cars the cars see cars; hence the referential aspects of it. But I see we are prepared to overthink this, so:

"It's too bad, then, that almost no thought went into issues like, if they're cars, how -and why- did they build the houses?"

The houses &c. are set dressing, not crucial plot points. The environment is intended to evoke the feeling of civilization by way of caricature and allusion, not be a precisely analogous and literal interpretation of human civilization. The characters don't need to have a completely logical and thoroughly thought-out mechanistic reason for being there to tell the story. This is necessary only when it matters to the plot (cf. the functional design of Monsters, Inc.'s power plant, for example).

The photorealism of the world arises from PIXAR's raison d'ĂȘtre; that objects will be rendered without causing the viewer to question their substance:


  • The objects will be seen to exist in three dimensions (even if they are only projected in two, and only exist as intangible geometry and math accessible via high-end workstation hardware and completely proprietary software).
  • They will have weight (even though the weight is merely a principle of animation, an illusion of motion, which is itself, an illusion of static images being played back faster than our eyes can register them individually).
  • They will even appear to be alive (if a brave toaster is a character, it will at least sometimes seem to breathe, because in animation, lifeless things do not breathe).


I don't see why anyone should feel "forced" to think about the world of Cars, or any movie which features talking inanimate objects (or, for that matter, talking animate objects which are not also humans). But if they are, why are they thinking about these things, instead of the characters or the story? No aspect of the plot really hinges on the world crafted for Cars, their origins, or why they are the way they are.

If we ask these questions though, we should also ask:
  • What's the deal with the monsters in Monsters, Inc.? How can screams be equivalent to electrical power?
  • Why are there talking fish in Finding Nemo? How can a shark survive without eating fish? What do the sharks eat? Why are all the younger fish schooling in the same school, instead of with members of their own species?
  • Nobody really has superpowers. And dude, there's no such island as Nomanisan. I checked.
  • Toys don't come to life when you're not around.

And we can do this for non Disney films and stories:

  • Why are some Transformers common household objects and others vehicles? [Go on, ask me.]
  • Why is Mrs. Frisby in the Rats of NIMH able to talk at all, even though she was never at NIMH? Or the Owl? Or any of the other non-NIMH characters?
  • A mouse named "Ralph" riding a toy motorcycle? Give me a break, he should be pooping in bread and eating food left out in the pantry. Mice don't ride motorcycles, even toy ones.
  • How can an ant and a grasshopper even talk, much less to each other?
  • Why would any fox want grapes up on a vine instead of a mouse, rabbit or some nice carrion? That's like me hungrily eyeing a bunch of pinecones. Aesop's. Worst. Story. Ever.
  • Talking crickets are impossible and absurd, even in Times Square.
  • I'm so sure One Ring could do all that just by being chucked into some lava.

As you can see, this sort of criticism is kind of pointless. Sometimes stories are allegoric, sometimes not, some create devices to ease the presentation of ideas which might be harder to deliver when spoken by human characters (this likely goes back further than Aesop), and some stories are purely for entertainment (Cars).

So who made the cars in Cars? Who made the toys in Toy Story and why did they infuse them with magical life? Does anyone really care about this by the end of Toy Story 3? It's as relevant to the experience of watching these films as knowing who the first grade teachers are of characters in any Hitchcock film. (In Rope, it might technically matter. In Rear Window, it doesn't.)

(I am not saying plot holes do not exist in film. A scene in The Matrix where everyone in the Matrix is described as batteries always jumps out at me, because we, as the audience, must accept that an otherwise indifferent AI would spend more energy than it could ever receive out of keeping a bunch of humans all happy and warm as power sources when it could simply go nuclear without regard to external environmental consequence. Humans are a pesky and expensive power drainsource. Nuclear could be completely human-free and the only people willing to object (like Greenpeace) would be safely and impotently trapped in the Matrix, which then could be farmed for solutions to external problems the AI minds find intractable. But I digress.)

Why does a firetruck in Cars grow flowers? Because the notion of a firetruck being a watering can is amusing. Knowing why they are growing the plants isn't important. I think it's a good film if the filmmakers can take subjects I'm utterly indifferent or even hostile to (cars, auto racing, Route 66), and make me interested in the world they make for it. That's the mark of a good film, in my book.

But, your mileage may vary.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My last paleo painting (for a while).

"Downhill": watercolor (made for this [check out the Art Evolved Galleries, there's some brilliant images over there]). Hey, it's also available as a 8x10 photo print. Only $65 plus shipping.


I need a break from doing paleoart in general.
I just need to draw something different for a while, like Ancient Astronauts and Tiki Cosmonauts with some retrofuture sensibilities. I want to draw some monorails and cyborgs from yesterday’s future. I'll be posting the product of this change both here and at Cyrillic Typewriter.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Survey: Which Museums Disallow Photographs and Why?

Since I'm still waiting to hear back from the Field Museum regarding some confusion over the no-photography policy with the Mammoths and Mastodons exhibit being run at the Anchorage Museum, I thought I'd get some input from folk who frequently visit museums and who were told, and for what reason, not to take photographs, or if the institution attempted to claim copyright ownership of photographs taken of museum exhibits.

I'd like to know for the sake of a future posting on this matter.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Why Do Some Natural History Museums Prohibit Photography?

On Thursday I went the Anchorage Museum to visit the Mammoths and Mastodons exhibit currently on display there, and was told no photography was permitted.  I was told the Field Museum of Natural History was responsible for the policy, but some twitter communication with the Field Museum's media department has confused this point, so I need to get to the bottom of the issue of who set the policy first before I post more on this.

In general, I dislike no-photography policies. There seems to be no legitimate need for them, when one of the purposes of a museum is public education. More as events develop.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Blogger's Bizzareness with Comments

So I just approved comments that were made 12 days ago, Blogger only having just yesterday informed me of their existence. Um. Sorry about that.

Blogger, I expected better of you, but I won't fire you because you work for free and it would cost too much to replace you. Dismissed.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lambeosaurus Skull

Lambeosaurus watercolor now available as a photo print from the artist for $60 (6x9) plus shipping.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Nigerian Pterosaur Watercolor

Formerly just another bit of filler of a placatory nature, this is now available as a photo print from the artist for $60 (6x9) plus shipping.

Monday, February 28, 2011

February's Daily Drawing Is Done

And with that, a personal challenge to myself is done (note: I didn't employ any consistency in uploading. Some stuff was uploaded to other accounts; I'll post a quick retrospective later on).

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hardest Skull on Earth to Draw

Right here:
If microecos hadn't posted this image, I wouldn't be dead. True story.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mystery Skull is Mysterious

Original upload. (I do know what the skull is from. I'm just being ... mysterious.)

UPDATE: It is indeed a flying fox skull, of the genus Pteropus.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lovebirds from Yesterday

Painting done in CMYK, in 1.75 hours.

Hrm. I should maybe do a nonhuman mammal of some sort next.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Just a quick note: about housekeeping here.

No, not done yet with that synapsid scale post. Commissions take priority. But I did want to mention I'm planning on revamping the links list off to the side a bit. There's new blogs that need to be added, new categories that need to be expressed (to cover the older blogs which are no longer updated but are still pretty important), and maybe mess with the widgeting a little.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Jabba the Gut

Julia supplied the photoreference for this: 
(There is a--legitimate, I think--fear that some of the things that get sent to me wind up in some sort of black hole. This sometimes does happen, but not this time. I've been planning this image for a while, and might tackle it again in a different medium.)

Synapsida post still waiting to be finished, but here's some art that I can't figure out how to push from Tumblr.

Originally uplorded here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A moment's reflection in anger.

"1 down, 534 to go."*

No one should be considered an American, who honestly believes this. Or this.

If anyone thinks they should undo the votes of hundreds of thousands or millions of people with a single bullet, they don't deserve to live here. They don't belong here. They are not conservatives, they are not liberals, they are not libertarians, they are neither right nor left, but tyrant wanna-bes.

A bullet is not a vote. It's a not a legitimate political argument. Disagreement will not be resolved in their favor if they exercise their belief that they have the right (or responsibility) to murder elected officials. If they must lash out, there are nonviolent means at their disposal. If those means don't generate results, maybe it's time for them to re-evaluate their ideas, not advocate the slaughter those who dare to disagree with them.

That is what tyrants do.

So when tea partiers show up to the next town hall or the next meeting carrying firearms, they should consider this:

"Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun."--Mao Tse-Tung, "Problems of War and Strategy" (November 6, 1938), Selected Works,  Vol. II.

I consider this a repudiation. 


* I believe this fellow is simply a stupid man, who said the wrong thing at the wrong time, and has no idea how to say, "I'm sorry, I was wrong. That was an inappropriate and stupid thing to say." That doesn't engender in me any sympathy, however, just pity. Sympathy in this case only exists for the misunderstood.