Pioneering Animal Scientists of the 19th Century

I have long been interested in the place animals have had in the sciences , particularly in the 19th century which was such an exciting time for science with so many diseases being researched, when space travel was just a dream and the idea of spirits and the world behind the veil was at it's height of interest. I thought it was time to honor some of these pioneering animal scientists in a series of portraits. Here are the preliminary sketches for the first few.

Squirrel Chemist sketch

The first one naturally features a squirrel. He is shown mixing a delicate balance of chemicals in pursuit of a cure for rabies, distemper or another of the animal diseases that were once so devastating. 

Fox Spiritualist sketch

The second is of a prominent Fox who was a founding member of the Animal Society of Psychical Research which strove to research spiritualist activities from a scientific point of view. . 

Bear Scientist Portrait sketch

This bear was perhaps the first to study Astronautics and Rocketry. A true advocate of animal space exploration he dreamed of one day landing a bear on the moon.

    

 

 

The fourth in the series so far is one of the first rabbits ever to consider  space travel a possibility. He was also a great experimenter in time travel and teleportation.

Acorns, anyone?

I  have just finished my latest portrait of a Gentleman Squirrel. Since I love food and entertaining so much I thought I'd picture him serving up a tray of his finest roasted acorns to his guests. It is done along the lines of my other victorian inspired animal portraits but I amped up the color a bit as I thought the grey suit complimented his grey fur. As with my other squirrel portraits I've used my "pet" squirrels from my courtyard that feed daily on my fire escape as my models. Prints and also portrait brooches of the Gentleman Squirrel are available in my Etsy shop, Curious Portraits! 

Lisa Zador - www.CuriousPortraits.etsy.com
Lisa Zador - www.CuriousPortraits.etsy.com

Cleaning House, Etsy Style

www.curiousportraits.etsy.com I am always reading articles on Etsy's blog about having great photos for your listings. Since my items are all prints of my artwork I didn't think there was much I could do to improve them. A few weeks ago I had some extra time and decided to look over my shop with a critical eye.  I realized  that my jewelry listings were abominable! When I first began to carry jewelry I was so overwhelmed with all the details of finding the proper supplies, deciding how to package them in an appealing way, and how to photograph them properly. I found that it was very difficult to get a good clear photo (with the camera I had at the time).  I did however want to get them up and running to see how they would do, intending to polish the listings up later so I just photographed them all against a soft blue suede background. Two years later I realize that they continue to sell well despite the terrible photos so I thought it was about time to do some polishing! I decided to put cheery backgrounds behind them in polka dots, stripes and damasks that I thought helped to convey the feeling of the image. With a little help from Photoshop (and my new camera which I love, a simple point and shoot Nikon Coolpix S8200 ). It has a terrific wide angle that allows super close up shots and in just about every setting allows you to adjust the color balance and light exposure which is important especially when you don't use a flash. It was so much fun putting in the backgrounds and seeing them come to life. The good news is that with these new flashy listings sales have definitely  gone up so I am grateful to Etsy for all those inspiring and motivational articles ! I have included a sample of the before and after of my Christmas Elf Squirrel so you can see the difference.

Christmas Elf Squirrel before and after

www.curiousportraits.etsy.com

www.curiousportraits.etsy.com

www.curiousportraits.etsy.com

www.curiousportraits.etsy.com

www.curiousportraits.etsy.com

www.curiousportraits.etsy.com

The Singing Squirrels

Singing-Christma-Squirrels

This year for my official Christmas portrait (and Christmas card which hopefully all of you have received by now) I went back to one of my favorite subjects. These cheerful squirrels live in the courtyard of my apartment building and are a constant source of inspiration. This year I have at least 3 squirrels ( I suspect a mysterious fourth) who come regularly to my studio window for their daily meal of peanuts and/or acorns and who are not in the least bit shy in front of the camera. I sit out there on the fire escape and photograph them while they eat and they don't mind at all. Of course it was tricky getting them to put on the hats and sweaters but in the end they all cooperated...

A very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah and Happy New Year to everyone who reads this blog and a very sincere thank-you for your support this past year!