Commissioning a Drifted! painting


Collecting the sample
Labelling and sending the sample
Composition and identification
Delivery and payment

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Collecting the sample:

a sample of drift will have three elements:
  1. selected objects of particular interest (whether artifacts or plant or Animal remains) that are picked up individually
  2. grabbed handsfulls of the general shoreline drift where biological remains are most diverse & concentrated, and
  3. general substrate and background material.

The most diverse material is the uppermost hands fulls of shell-rich drift right at the line of highest tide or flooding, or skimmed off by filters of grass from the current or eddies. In ditches, streams, and rivers such concentrations are often found after floods above or below bridges or culverts. In lakes or marine shores shells may be concentrated in gaps in shoreline vegetation or where waves turn on themselves at the ends of docks, breakwaters, or logs. On some marine or lake shores you'll also want to pick up the sunken drift that accumulates just at the foot of the beach slope, either underwater or revealed at low tides. Spread the sample out to dry thoroughly on newspaper (artificial heat may be required in humid climates - but the idea is that these specimens are already dried out, so don't include any fresh flesh in the sample), and store it in paper bags or cardboard boxes. You can selectively discard visually uninteresting coarse debris. Characteristic mineral substrate (fine gravel, sand, mud, etc.) is required for the background 'wash' of the composition. Be sure that every sub-division of a sample always includes a label that uniquely identifies it.

Labeling and sending:

Part of collecting the sample is museum standards of labeling. Record localities precisely, by a distance/direction location name (e.g. Mickle Creek at Hwy56, 2.3kmSSE Whimseyville, Bracken Twp., Bracebridge Land District), and if possible in the UTM grid notation explained on topographic maps (in Canada e.g. Map 31Q/14 grid 17TXE 347 893), latitude and longitude from a GPS unit or chart, or an e-mail of the position from an internet mapping service. Record the date, type and size of water body, the surrounding habitat, how long a stretch of shore you sampled, and how the sample was selected.

Sending your sample: Package the samples carefully (if there are both delicate plants or shells and gravel, rocks, or heavy shells, separate each kind, and pack separately in such a way that the containers can't shift around. On the other hand, light plant chaff can serve as packing, and if there's no heavy chunks, the sample can just be shaken down into a double plastic bag, and packed into a box. Clearly label different samples in plastic bags in a strong box), and ship to Bishops Mills Natural History Centre, RR#2 Bishops Mills, Ontario, Canada K0G 1T0 (613)258-3107or from the USA to Aleta Karstad in care of Louise Schueler 137 East Avenue, Syracuse, New York, 13224.

Composition & identification:

The size of the painting, scale of magnification, and any particular objects which are regarded as essential elements, needs to be settled beforehand. Aleta has traditionally painted these in watercolour, but they could also be executed in oils or ink. Aleta will set up the composition, sketch it, scan it, and send it for approval. Identifications will obviously be easier from Canada or northern US where we're familiar with the species. Identification will be facilitated by any labeling of ambiguous parts in original shipment (e.g. "this is a bit of dried Walrus stomach."), or by the address of a local naturalist who might be able to help.

Delivery and payment:

...includes interim digital images of the painting in several stages of progress, identification document, a copy of any future publication that uses the image, and discounts on further copies of such a publication. Method and speed of delivery depends on the size of the work and the destination eg: a large unframed piece and its shadow-box framed arrangement may be hand carried to an overseas destination.

Payment: 30% down payment of painting price in advance, 50% of the balance upon receipt of scan of completed painting, final payment including framing and shipping costs on safe receipt of the completed works

cost for watercolour:
$200/10 cm square (image size)
$100 set up fee for arrangement
$200 identification fee
+ framing, shipping & taxes. the minimum for 10x10cm painting is $500 + framing, shipping & taxes, and a painting one metre square with the image covering half the area would be $10,300. We'd have to discuss prices for oils or ink drawings.

Copyright: These paintings are prepared under Canadian copyright rules: the commissioner/purchaser owns the painting, while the artist retains copyright of the image. We will scan the image for potential use in an eventual "Drifted" book, but will not publish an image without contacting the owner of the painting. Specimens in the drift sample not used in the arrangement become the property of the BMNHC.

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