Wednesday, 8 August 2012


My first "study species" as an undergrad at the University of British Columbia, was the three-spine stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus. Clearly, I had many reasons to draw this semi-ugly little marine and freshwater fish. The paintings below I've shown in order from the most recent. Perhaps you can witness the evolution of the stickleback (painting) yourself! (ha)

Low, medium, and high plated stickleback (2012) - a representation of a transitional hybrid zone visible in streams leading to the sea in coastal British Columbia. I painted the above for my friend Anne Dalziel on completion of her PhD.

Stickleback evolution affects ecosystem parameters (2009) - I painted this piece for cover art of our article in the journal, Nature. Unfortunately, they picked a garish cartoon instead.

Three paintings for my undergraduate honour's thesis advisors (2006) - Luke J. Harmon (a lovely little stickleback community); Dolph Schluter (an unfortunate hybrid stickleback); Jonathan B. Shurin (a stickle eyeing a planktonic invertebrate, diaphanosoma)

Fantastical Stickleback - my first painted stickle (gah! 2005), which I created for our lab tech

The Daemon Archetype Quartet

It is apparent that with an astonishing and unexpected review at io9, the biologically-mythologically inclined internet-meanderers have taken a sudden interest in my work. Fantastic news!

However, you see, it is a little poorly timed as I am in the middle of my field season and am desperately behind in posting work. I hope to take the next few days to log all the work I produced since my grade 12 AP art portfolio ten years ago.

To begin- some rather dark line-drawings of the most symbolic of the mythical creatures.

 'False hope, apparition of imagination' 'Delirium, deceptive illusion of the mind' (Written in an attempt at Ancient Greek along the sides... The runes simply say Chimaera). My own interpretation of the Ancient Greek part goat, lion and serpent monster surviving today as a word in the English dictionary meaning 'a mental illusion' and in biology as a group of deep water cartilagenous fishes seeming to be composed of parts from different organisms. This piece is done in pen and ink with chalk pastel.

Waits with secrets of wisdom' 'Punisment of truth and strangling' (Written in Ancient Greek along the sides... the runes say Sphinx). My own rendition of the part Egyptian (lion anterior, classical position), part Greek (female, wings), part Biblical (posterior bull); she is a creature which has classically represented various, sometimes oppossing meanings from truth to punishment to abundance to revelation. Artwork is done in pen and chalk pastel.

'Prisoner of the labyrinth; the surreal beast of immortality with shackles of ambiguity.'

Yes... here she is at last, for those of you who were awaiting... 'Suicidal guardian of death; with claws of Fate, delivers souls to Hades.' (written in Greek along the sides)
All artwork Copyright Simone Des Roches 2012