Magnificent Painting By Jessica Palmer (aka BioE)!!11!! {Updated With Artist’s Annotation!}

March 8, 2009


Comrade PhysioProf won this beautiful painting by Jessica Palmer–who is also the blogger known as Bioephemera–with the biggest Donors Choose donation to her blog’s challenge. It was matted and framed by an awesome fucking frame shop in the neighborhood. w00t!

You can check out a fuckton of her other work here.

UPDATE: Here is the artist’s annotation written by Jessica:

Well, the medium is watercolor. There may be a tiny bit of gouache in the details on the bubbles and so on, and pencil for the sketch. I wanted to do a cephalopod for this contest because it’s a theme of my blog, but the last one I did was really bright and science-fictiony. I wanted to go a different, more organic direction and paint an art nouveau style cephalopod, such as you might find in a stained glass window or on a piece of enamelled jewelry.

The unusual palette was partly inspired by a Daniel Merriam painting I had seen, and partly by a grungy patina on a collage.I originally was going to have grungy letters and numbers layered in the painting – I was thinking of a submarine or something – but as I proceeded the painting was just too organic and flowing for that to work. So I ended up embedding a Shakespeare quote in the background of the piece – Ariel’s song from The Tempest,

Full fathom five thy father lies:
Of his bones are coral made:
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.

which came to mind as I was painting, in part because of the coral color of the octopus, but mostly because I’ve always been kind of fascinated with those lines. I wanted the painting to be sumptuous in its curves and detail (rich), but still surreal and dreamlike (strange). (I was emphatically trying NOT to think of Hitchcock’s “Rich and Strange,” which is a terrible film.) I was also thinking while painting this of Percy Bysshe Shelley, who drowned young. (It turns out the boat he wrecked in was named “Ariel”; I did not find this out until after I finished the painting. Odd.)

Meaning – well, a cephalopod is a changeable creature – changing shape and color freely – so it seemed like the right critter to represent a theme of transformation, especially timeless transformation, with its tentacles making little infinity loops and spirals all over the place. I envision this octopus as a sort of wise dragon of the deep, guarding its treasure of bones and coral and pearls and whatever else is down there decaying away in slow motion (including Shelley). But it could mean something quite different to someone else. I don’t think the artist has a special privilege when it comes to interpreting the artwork.

16 Responses to “Magnificent Painting By Jessica Palmer (aka BioE)!!11!! {Updated With Artist’s Annotation!}”

  1. That is amazing, PhysioProf. Jessica is an incredibly talented artist.

  2. PZ Myers is eating his heart out!

  3. bikemonkey Says:

    That is AWESOMZ!!! I better start saving up for next year’s BioE! Challenge…

  4. Cheweasel Says:

    Wtf is a “PZ Myers”?

  5. Physiogroupie IV Says:


  6. Nat Says:

    Whoa, that is totes awesome.

    So, home or office for that beauty?

  7. BB Says:

    Bikemonkey, you and me both.

  8. DuWayne Says:

    That is a truly awesome painting. CPP – you should post a link to her gallery site and/or her blog.

  9. Nice painting.

    Off topic: Do any of you know why Barefoot Bum shuttered his Blog? The comments there are closed to “team members” now, as well.

    I hate to see a good Blog end…

  10. jc Says:

    absolutely stunning. breathtaking work.

  11. arvind Says:

    Sw33t!! Jessica is teh awesome!!!11!

    LOL @ fuckton! The link goes to a blank page though.

  12. That’s wonderful! Such a beautiful painting.

  13. Larry Ayers Says:

    You’re a lucky guy, CP! I’m a big fan of Jessica and her work.

  14. That’s beautiful!

  15. bioephemera Says:

    Wow! That frame makes the painting look great, PP! I’m so glad you and PPW like it!

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