The art of Flowers_book preview

ART OF flowers pageThe Art of Flowers-A celebration of Botanical Illustration, it’s masters and methods.

Jack Kramer

Watson-Guptill Publications. New York 2002.

Botanical art collector Jack Kramer shares his extensive collection of botanical art, taking the reader on a visual journey throughout the history of the subject. Pages range from small reprinted tutorials on drawing and colouring to full pages of reprinted artworks. An informative read sourced from a range of historical  publications and illustrations, covering a broad range of featured artists throughout history.

Exerpt – FLORILEGIA In 1787, Curtis’s Botanical Magazine was launched in London; soon, flowers became acceptable in their own right as artistic subject matter, not simply as elements in still-life painting. In fact, decorative flower painting became the more popular of the two genres. others argued that flowers were aesthetically of interest and  believed that artists avoided flowers as subjects because they were difficult to paint, not because they were not worth painting “‘£s~ ‘X the two genres. Flowers were glorified in florilegia large picture books by artists such as Pierre-Joseph Redoute and Georg Ehret. Considering how beloved floral illustration has become, it the Swaddlmg Clothes of the should be remembered that as late as the early 1800’s, many  noted authorities held floral art in low regard.

Sir Joshua Reynolds, founder of Englands Royal Academy, declared that it trig mature artist should waste his time on flowers. Fortunately, other’s argued that flowers were aesthetically of interest and ideal for painting. The English critic John Ruskin, for example, believed that artists avoided flowers because they were difficult to paint, not because they were not worth painting.




Christmas Beetle

xx3Today is December 1st, this reminds me that Christmas is well and truly close, nature has a way of reminding me of this too. Every year, in Australia, in December, we would get a particular type of beetle flying in. This beetle is known as the “christmas beetle”, for it’s seasonal presence. Telling this beetle apart from similar ones was easy enough, this one had a look about it that made it easy to identify. Any time one flew around or was found crawling around, I was quick to notice the characteristic hard thump in which it landed and the slightly pitted wings with pale tan and iridescent sheen.

The species is part of the scarab family, maybe one of my favourite families of beetles, somehow with their often showy appearance, these beetles made it easy for a girl to like bugs and not be afraid of them. Their appearance aside, this beetle didn’t hiss, smell or bite and was perfectly happy to fly away from you, traits not shared by all insects.

Travelling to different regions across Australia, I’ve since noted subtle differences within the beetle. The one I’m familiar with is the one in the centre of the 3 in the image above. The darker spots on the wings, noticably pitted texture and hairy body parts. The image also illustrates the irridesent sheen, especially on the thorax. I anticipate to have some more animated images of the beetle in the near future to accompany the article.

Christmas beetle is a name commonly applied to the Australian beetle genus Anoplognathus. They are known as Christmas beetles because they are abundant in both urban and rural areas close to Christmas. Christmas beetles are large (20-30 mm long) members of the scarab family that are noisy and clumsy fliers, similar to the cockchafers of Europe. They typically have elytra that are a dark or light brown, or green, in some species with a green-yellow iridescence. The genus includes 35 species, several of which have been implicated in dieback of eucalypts. Anoplognathus pallidicollis is the species most commonly observed and associated with the name of Christmas beetle. source

xr x1 ventral side dorsal


Wild freesia flowers




True Creativity is Left & Right Brain Thinking

This is a reblog from Scientific American..

I’m reblogging for the simple fact that I want to outline that true creativity with depth, is a far more sophisticated process than simply utilising one side of the brain. I’m really logical, and always figured much of this myself, goes

Is it true that creativity resides in the right hemisphere of the brain?

Ned Herrmann is an educator and consultant, who has spent two decades developing models of brain activity and its relationship to the creative process. Herrmann headed management education at General Electric and founded the Ned Herrmann Group in 1980. Here is his view.In answering this question, I need to refer to both the left and right hemispheres, as well as the limbic system. The two hemispheres are frequently referred to as left brain/right brain.The left brain/right brain concept of brain specialization was thoroughly researched and documented by the surgeon Joseph Bogen; Robert Ornstein, author of The Psychology of Consciousness; and Roger Sperry, the psychobiologist who conducted landmark “split brain” experiments, that earned him the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1981.

Bogen first suggested to Roger Sperry that he conduct experiments on his so-called “split brained” patients, those whose corpus callosi had been surgically separated to alleviate intractable epilepsy. These award-winning experiments demonstrated significant differences in the mental capabilities of the brain’s two hemispheres. The left hemisphere was shown to be logical, analytic, quantitative, rational and verbal, whereas the right hemisphere was revealed to be conceptual, holistic, intuitive, imaginative and non-verbal. Thus a classic dichotomy was born.

Many brain researchers and authors have documented this dichotomy extensively over the past 20 years. Ornstein was among the first, but many others followed. And, through their writing, they popularized the notion of left brain/right brain mental processing. But having personally researched both brain function and creativity for the same 20 years, I have concluded that creativity is a mental process utilizing all of the brain’s specialized capabilities. It is, therefore, “whole brained.”

The Whole Brain Model

FOUR QUADRANTS define not only the left brain<br /><br />
and right brain modes but also the cerebral and limbic modes.

FOUR QUADRANTS define not only the left brain (A, B) and right brain (C, D) modes but also the cerebral (A, D) and limbic (B, C) modes.

The significant link to the right brain is pretty clear. The specialized characteristics of the right hemisphere make it the seat of curiosity, synergy, experimentation, metaphoric thinking, playfulness, solution finding, artistry, flexibility, synthesizing and in general, risk taking. In addition, it is likely to be opportunistic, future oriented, welcoming of change, and to function as the center of our visualization capability.

Every one of these specialized modes is capable of enhancing an individual’s creative thinking. For example, an intuitive idea that pops into your mind and appears to solve a problem can be experimented with, visualized, integrated with other ideas and ultimately developed into a possible solution. That’s the right hemisphere part.

Now, to do something about that possible solution requires different specialized mental processes, and these, by and large, are located in the left hemisphere. Diagnosing the proposed solution to determine whether it solves the real problem makes use of our rational processes of analysis and logic.

The next creativity step might be how to factoring in sequence, timing or implementation procedures. Since the right hemisphere and the left hemisphere are massively interconnected (through the corpus callosum), it is not only possible, but also highly likely, that the creative person can iterate back and forth between these specialized modes to arrive at a practical solution to a real problem. If the right hemisphere were somehow disconnected from the left and confined to its own specialized thinking modes, it might be relegated to only “soft” fantasy solutions, pipe dreams or weird ideas that would be difficult, if not impossible, to fully implement in the real world. The left brain helps keep the right brain on track.

Overall, creativity is a whole brain process. The brain is an electrochemical organ that works on the basis of neural activity that occurs in the cortex; it is well demonstrated that “thinking” takes place exclusively within the cortex. There are four main structures in the brain with a “thinking like” cortex. Two of them are the left hemisphere and the right hemisphere. The other two are the left half of the limbic system and the right half of the limbic system. The limbic system is a bilateral complex of specialized structures that deal with such processes as memory, emotion, sequence, time, fight or flight and sensory responses. The principal limbic elements, each with its own cortex, are the hippocampus, the thalamus and the amygdala. Just as the two hemispheres are hardwired together by the corpus callosum, the two halves of the limbic system are similarly joined by the hippocampal commissure.

A model can be constructed that displays the four thinking structures in four quadrants (illustration above). This Whole Brain Model depicts the four structures as viewed from the back of the head. Building on this model, it is also possible to develop two other related models that define the Four Selves and the Creative Self. The Four Selves model describes the thinking characteristics of an individual in every day situations, and the Creative Self model describes them when that same individual is acting creatively.

The Whole Brain Creativity and Innovation model (illustration below) shows how specialized thinking modes are allocated to the four quadrants; interconnecting arrows illustrate the iterative capability of the brain. What I consider to be the most understandable description of the creative process consists of six phases: interest, preparation, incubation, illumination, verification and application. Each step of this process has its own characteristic brain waves.

Creativity-Innovation Model

Creativity Model

From a left brain/right brain perspective, the creative process can be diagnosed as follows: Interest (left and right), preparation (left), incubation (right), illumination (right), verification (left) application (left and right). It is a balanced process–four “lefts” and four “rights.”

Over the many years that I’ve worked with this whole brain concept, I’ve become aware of significant male/female differences in mental processing preferences and competencies. Several are particularly relevant to creativity. It’s clear that although both genders have left mode and right mode specialties, they are very different. To take advantage of these differences, it is highly desirable to have a balance of males and females on any creative team. Creative teams comprised of only males or only females are usually mentally incomplete–which often results in them jumping to early conclusions, arriving at poor solutions or both.

In summary, the role of the right hemisphere is essential to the creative process. But it supplies only a quarter of the thinking needed to realize the full creative process. We also need the left hemisphere and both halves of the limbic system to optimize creative output. And gender-balanced teams are clearly the most creatively productive

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Welcome to Spring


When Peter rabbit turned “real”

peter rabbitOK, so she is not my only hero, but I do admit that I’m a fan of Beatrix Potter. There, I said it. I know you’re supposed to pick someone from more popular culture maybe, but I’m revealing a truth here and hey why not.

So, you know who I’m talking about, right? The one and the only creator of Peter Rabbit. Beatrix could definitely be filed under many categories, don’t think she just created one blue jacket wearing rabbit. Nope, she was an astute businesswoman and inventor as well as artist, natural history/scientific illustrator and amateur scientist, not that her discoveries in science were amateur at all. Because you see Beatrix noted aspects of Fungi that counter claimed what had previously been reported by scientists. It was her finely tuned eye for detail which allowed Beatrix to note things others may have missed. Though Potter prepared her findings for presentation, due to being a female, she was not allowed to personally share this documentation to the Linneaus Society.

Self publishing was Beatrix’s way onto the authoring scene. Resorting to printing her own books at first, since she had rejections from about 6 companies. Thankfully, one of those companies ended up changing their mind, and so the story of Peter Rabbit for the mass market began.

peter rabbit patent

She’s also responsible for suggesting to the publisher of her writing, Frederick Warne & Co., that turning the 2D character on paper to a 3Dimensional toy should be the next step in the lineage of Potter productions, that was 2 years after her first published version of the story book. The German company Steiff produced the Toy, but first of all, Beatrix made a version as she saw it and took it to a patent office.

steiffsource Here’s a picture of a pre loved original Steiff Peter Rabbit with details from an auction house. German, 1906, button, black boot button eyes with red felt backing, pink nose stitching, unjointed, brown finely airbrushed velvet body with white under and inner ears, wearing blue felt jacket, yellow embroidered edge, four textured brass buttons to front, two pockets, Chinese-style red pointed toe slipper with leather sole, yellow embroidered edge (one is missing), fabric worn around button, velvet pile missing from diaphragm, jacket holed at left sleeve, three small holes to rear of jacket and under right arm, slightly dirty overall, otherwise Good, 9″/23cm. N.B. A book about the adventures of “Peter Rabbit” was first published in 1902. As a result Beatrix Potter achieved worldwide acclaim – not only illustrating her own book she produced a Peter Rabbit doll – and registered it at a Patent Office in London. Steiff eventually manufactured the accurate representation, right down to his clothing, these were sold initially only in the UK. This Peter Rabbit was bequeathed to the vendor by her Aunt Violet Johnson. Violet was born in Grimsby in 1910. She worked as a children’s nanny for noteable families, initially in London and later Jersey. It is believed that Peter was given to her as a keepsake by one of the families.

Beatrix Potter with Benjamin Bunny

Further Reading

Wikipedia Beatrix Potter


Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature

Hardcover, 584 pages

Published January 9th 2007 by St. Martin’s Press (first published 2006)

original title
Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature
0312369344 (ISBN13: 9780312369347)

edition language




Two-Headed Whale Washes Up On Baja, California Beach! (Disturbing Video & Images) | Environment

Source Before It’s News It might be the first documented case of conjoined twin gray whales. (Conjoined twins have occurred in other species, such as fin, sei and minke whales. A database search at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County did not reveal published instances of conjoined gray whale twins, or what might also be referred to as Siamese gray whale twins.)

via Fuku Mutation? Two-Headed Whale Washes Up On Baja, California Beach! (Disturbing Video & Images) | Environment.

Bu73pKNIgAEgPLVRead more on joined ocean animals in this post about a two headed dolphin washed ashore in Turkey