Today’s the birthday of artist and biological illustrator Kelly Houle, who will spend the day working on her stupendous hand-lettered and hand-illuminated copy of The Origin of Species. The project will take several years, and, though I’ve mentioned it before, I thought I’d bring it up once more while giving her a shout-out. You can wish her happy birthday, but I bet she’d like it better if you’d donate to the project!
I’m a huge fan of this endeavor and have supported it in both on this website and in a pecuniary way. You can donate here, either via a direct PayPal contribution or by purchasing some of the great spinoff items that Kelly has created to support her work. For only $250 you can get an 8″ X 10″ hand-painted and illuminated version of a beetle of your choice. And the greeting cards, with an embossed gold “tree of life” (the one drawn by Darwin in his notebooks), are less pricey but lovely.
Follow the work’s progress at Kelly’s “Illuminated Origin of Species” Facebook page. I’ve taken the liberty of lifting two posts from her page:
Here is a snapshot of the stages of a typical beetle painting. You can see the beetle specimen in the top center, the line drawing and color map in the lower left, my watercolor sketchbook in the upper left with color studies in stages with notes (so I can easily paint it again on the table of contents page later), paint mixes in the upper right, and a Daniel Smith “dot card” with small amounts of iridescent paints on the lower right.
And her latest beetle:
I finished three more beetle paintings this week! This Photuris lucicrescens, or firefly, really glows with a halo of shell gold. Framed prints of this adopted beetle painting will be available by next week. I’ll post more information soon.