Portraits have never been my strong point. The ability to distill a likeness into a few lines or carefully placed brushstrokes is no easy task. For this reason, I highly admire portrait artists, and when awesome portraits of eminent naturalists and scientists pass my desk, I can’t resist.
Joanna Barnum is a Baltimore, Maryland-based illustrator and watercolor painter who has just released a beautiful 2012 calendar of science portraits. From Alfred Wallace to Charles Darwin, each naturalist is beautifully rendered and accompanied by the subjects in which they are known. What you get are wonderful likenesses paired with detailed studies of everything from Darwin’s famed finches, to a mycological tableau (see: mushrooms). On top of that, each portrait is accompanied by a biography and information about the naturalist featured for that month. This is the perfect gift for anyone who loves wildlife, the scientists who have worked to bring it to our attention, and has a place to prominently display it all. Digital prints are also available on her site.
In addition to the calendar, Joanna has a portfolio bristling with watercolor paintings. There are studies of animals, which having done my own series of animal paintings, I really enjoyed perusing. There are also more portraits of friends, writers, and even our boy Carl. Hell yeah!
We’re always talking about supporting your science/skeptic artists here at Mad Art Lab. Now you can have a nicely packaged bit of the who’s-who of natural studies. Kudos, Joanna!
P.s. Chuck’s finches reminded me of another artist who found themselves enamored with the natural world, a while back, illustrator Kari Fry featured this great t-shirt of evolution in action. Now that’s testable change we can observe and form hypotheses on.