Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Earth Sci Animation

This is a very simple post, but I really must share this great little animation. I am after all, a geophysicist by training, and this elegant animation “Everything You Need to Know About Planet Earth” by Munich-based Kurzgesagt, covers much of a first year physics of the Earth course in a lucid, fun, succinct way, with a great minimalist aesthetic, and a few extra dinosaurs.

Their rapid summary of plate tectonics does leave out mid-ocean ridges, transform faults, collision zones and more... but in fairness, an entire plate tectonics future video is promised. Way to go Kurzgesagt!

(via Laughing Squid)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Illustration/Math Venn Diagram

Even those who do not happen to revel in mathematics, know a little set theory - or least one of its useful visual tools: the Venn diagram. Today would be the 180th birthday of English philosopher and logician John Venn (4 August 1834 – 4 April 1923) remembered for the eponymous diagrams. Somehow by making a way to visualize sets and their intersections, he created a mathematical tool beloved of illustrators and graphic designers. (It's the subject of today's Google doodle). This sort of math one can "see" has made it into - dare I say - a large set of fun and fabulous illustrations. I thought I'd gather some for his birthday.

I love this hilarious example by Tenso Graphics:  

'Math' by Tenso Graphics available here

The diagrams are so recognizable, people even take liberties with the concept and we still understand, say that moustaches are the intersection of shaved areas with facial hair:

Venn diagram of facial hair by Tim Easley
 Or this interesting one:
one of a series of Venn diagrams by Satchel And Sage
Though sometimes they are quite literal, as in these Venn diagrams in the 'light theory' pillow:

Light theory pillow by dirtsastudio
But, I think this one is my all time favorite,

by Elise Towle Snow of Argyle Whale

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Transparent Still Life

Physicist Arie van 't Riet specializes in radiation physics, and very low energy x-rays in particular. He began making artwork employing x-ray nature photographs, where radiography intersects fine art. His colourized x-ray photos of bioramas are a sort of see-through wunderkammer. He creates entire scenes in x-ray form. It makes me think of how the natural world might look if my eyes could see in x-ray wavelengths (or those back-of-the-comic-book x-ray specs really worked).

  Arie van 't Riet

Cameleon, begonia, Arie van 't Riet

Barn owl, Arie van 't Riet

Arie van 't Riet

frog, Arie van 't Riet

Arie van 't Riet
Arie & Hans van't Riet

 As a printmaker, I also appreciate how he's worked with Hans van 't Riet to produce Toboyo prints, or photo-polymer etchings, using UV light to transfer the x-rays to a plate which was inked and hand-printed. There's something poetic about using one non-visible wavelength to photograph right through lifeforms and show their structure, and then use another non-visible wavelength to bite an etching plate and print onto paper- combining the high tech with the centuries-old artistic medium.

Transparent flowers, revealing their skeletal structures, are also the subject of  architecture-student-turned-artist Macoto Murayama's work, but his is a very different medium. He uses computer graphics, 3dsMAX software usually employed in architecture (or animation), to model and then Photoshop and Illustrator depict the anatomy of flowers. It's like a specialized form of scientific illustration, as he bases his images on his own careful dissection of flowers
Chrysanthemum, Macoto Murayama
Rose, Macoto Murayama

Yoshino cherry, Macoto Murayama

Chrysanthemum, Macoto Murayama

Satsuki azalea, Macoto Murayama

(via the scientist)

Thursday, April 24, 2014


Caroline Herschel
Caroline Herschel, linocut by Ele Willoughby (aka minouette), 2014
I'v been working of late on this linocut of astronomer Caroline Herschel (16 March 1750 – 9 January 1848), known for her discovery of at least 8 comets, and in the process, I've come across all these historical images of comets, which I thought I would share.

Comets have long been interpreted as harbingers, of often terrifying events, though sometimes of wonderous things to come. When something new appears and moves through our heavens, it's not surprising that they have been recorded, especially when obvious even to the naked eye.

a depiction of a comet that may have been an aurora borealis, 1527, Germany, anonymous
from Kometenbuch, written in 1587, a book containing descriptions of comets and hand painted illustrations.

[Notable comets of the period 1577-1652]

Types of cometary forms, illustrations from Johannes Hevelius' Cometographia (Danzig, 1668)
'Halley's Comet' & 'Enckee's Comet' from The Phenomena and Order of the Solar System, c. 1843.
Reynolds' Series of Astronomical Diagrams. Comets and Aerolites
Flowers of the sky, by Richard A. Proctor. New York, A.C. Armstrong and son [1879?] p.24
E L Trouvelot - The great comet of 1881. Observed on the night of June 25-26 at 1h. 30m. A.M

French paste comet brooch, c. 1950, Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Inspired by Science

Inspired by Science on The Etsy Blog

The Etsy blog just posted Karen Brown's article featuring 5 Etsy artists who are inspired by science, including me!

Lise Meitner
Lise Meitner and Nuclear Fission Linocut History of Physics by minouette


“I think the idea that art and science are separate is unfounded,” says print maker Ele Willoughby of minouette. “It takes creativity to be a good scientist and experimentation to be a good artist.” In her Etsy shop, Ele explores art and science through a series of portraits of scientists inspired by the bi-monthly challenges of the Mad Scientists of Etsy team. “I love hearing from parents who want to inspire young children with portraits of scientific heroes or heroines,” she says.

There are some fabulous artists in that inspiring intersection of art and science, and several of my prints included.

(x-posted to the on-going saga of minouette)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


3D objects by Lydiaka Shirreff

Minerals and crystals are so common in contemporary culture I decided to make a second post on crystals. The distinction is sometimes a bit arbitrary, as many minerals are crystals, but today's post is about art and things which celebrate the wondrous shapes of crystals, and remind you (if mathematically inclined) of group theory. Often, you see crystalline forms growing out of everything from fashion:

Iris van Herpen, Capriole collection
Pastel Stud Vest by Mallory Weston, strangefeelings on Etsy

Eva Soto Conde dress, 2013, photo by Tomy Pelluz for Vogue Italia

Pankaj and Nidhi's glowing geometric dress, SS12 show at Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week 


to architecture, like the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, an addition to the Royal Ontario Museum, created by architect Daniel Libeskind, here in Toronto,


or the watercolour drawings of the Los Carpinteros collective (Marco Antonio Castillo Valdés and Dagoberto Rodriguez Sanchez)

Los Carpinteros, 2011, watercolour / paper, 80 x 114 cm.
Courtesy: Sean Kelly Gallery, NY.
Los Carpinteros, 2011, watercolour / paper,

Los Carpinteros, 2011, watercolour / paper,

Los Carpinteros, 2011, watercolour / paper,

 To ceramics, like Michelle Summers' whimsical illustrations:

Michelle Summers

Michelle Summers

Michelle Summers
And, of course, crystals themselves abound in art.

Crystals by Carin Vaughn

Installation by Gemma Smith
Acryllic sculpture and painting by Gemma Smith
...amongst many others. Do you have a favorite interpretation of crystals?

Monday, January 27, 2014


Crystals, minerals and gems have been a recurring theme in a lot of contemporary art and culture of late. This is a round up of some of those mineral inspired items that have caught my eye. You see minerals in art like the spectacular paintings by Carly Waito previously covered by magpie&whiskeyjack. You can also find artist-made minerals in all sorts of media.
Ashley Zangle, detail of bubble bath pour
Ashley Zangle, Nine Pours Spring: 2012, 44 x 60"

Ashley Zangle uses bubble bath and ink on paper to capture and sculpture the multifarious look of minerals.
Studio installation by Ashley Zangle
Ashley Zangle

Rocks and minerals show up in the collages of collections by Amber Ibarreche.

Gemz, collage by Amber Ibarreche

Keetra Dean Dixon and JK Keller produced a series of layed wax sculptures with embedded text which look like giant mineral specimens.

Layered Wax Type: Become; in orange, Detail. 24" x 13" x 7", 
wax, acrylic paint and foam, 2009
by Keetra Dean Dixon and JK Keller

Layered Wax Type: Become; in orange, 24" x 13" x 7", wax, acrylic paint and foam, 2009
by Keetra Dean Dixon and JK Keller

Layered Wax Type: Become; in orange, Detail. 24" x 13" x 7", 
wax, acrylic paint and foam, 2009
by Keetra Dean Dixon and JK Keller
Tabirtha Bianca Brown, or thepairabirds, has some great mineral and gem prints on Etsy.
Soft Rock Geometric Facet Art Print by thepairabirds
Amethyst, Geometric Facet Art Print by thepairabirds

Lindsay Jones has a whole mineral calendar.
2014 Minerals Calendar by shoplindsayjones

David Scheirer has a great print of a rock collection watercolour.
Rock mineral collection by studiotuesday

I love the more stylized illustrations of crystals and minerals by Ryan Putnam too.

Ryan Putnam, crystals and minerals

I myself have begun making linocuts on Japanese kozo paper with iridescent chine colle of different minerals.

Quartz linocut by minouette

Minerals show up in fashion, like this 'Mineralogy' scarf by Charlotte Linton:

'Mineralogy' scarf by Charlotte Linton
Or more photorealistic silk scarves with photos from Jen Altman's Gem and Stone:
Labradorite scarf, photo by Jen Atlman

You even see minerals in street art, like the fabulous paper and resin 3D 'urban geode' works by Paige Smith of A Common Name.
A Common Name, Geode #3, DTLA 

A Common Name, Geode #10, Arts District
A Common Name, Geode #33, Uluwatu

Perhaps the most unexpected and delightful medium is soap!

2 oz. Soap/Amethyst Crystal Soap by amethystsoap


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