Crystal Jellyfish Painting Finished!
 
My first painting in a series of (at least two) paintings on bioluminescence is complete! This painting helped me a lot in my learning process as I head into a larger and more detailed painting that will help explain how bioluminescence is used to track viruses in the search for antibiotics. One of the main things I learned while working on this smaller piece is that bioluminescence and fluorescence are two completely different things and this jellyfish exhibits both of those properties. The Jellyfish is only technically bioluminescent in the green ring around the bell of the creature. That is the area that produces a blue light either when the creature is startled or hoping to attract food. That blue light is absorbed by GFP, a green fluorescent protein that then causes the animal to glow green. To make things even more confusing, the jellyfish appears to be glowing blue in photographs.


To help explain the bioluminescent process vs fluorescent more clearly I asked for some help from my science advisor on this project, Dr Siouxsie Wiles. Here is her brilliant explanation:


Bioluminescence is a chemical reaction that produces light. Fluorescence is very different - its when light is emitted by a protein. Basically the protein gets 'excited' by light of a particular wavelength. Electrons move out of their orbits, and when they return, they cause the protein to emit light of a different wavelength. Jellyfish have probably the most famous example of a fluorescent protein - green fluorescent protein or GFP. This is a protein that emits green light when excited with blue light. Jellyfish also produce a luciferase/luciferin system which most likely produces the light that excites GFP to produce its green light.


So:

bioluminescence = a chemical reaction (no 'excitation' required)

fluorescence = light produced by a protein when 'excited' by light of the correct wavelength


A fundamental difference between the two is that bioluminescence requires the organism to be alive, as it requires energy - ATP or FMNH2. Dead things can still fluoresce as fluorescence doesn't require energy, just the fluorescent protein, so a dead creature can fluoresce until the fluorescent protein has naturally degraded. This makes a huge difference to my work - we use bioluminescence to measure in real time whether our bacteria are dead or alive, where as we use fluorescent proteins for microscopy to find out where our bacteria are on tissue samples that have been fixed with nasty chemicals, which kill the bacteria.


Thank you Dr Wiles! That does help explain it!


Did I mention this painting glows in the dark? It does! For added light play I painted just the Jellyfish with some fun glow in the dark paint. I'll do another post with a gif that shows the painting in the light and then in the dark.


I mentioned earlier that my goal is to paint two paintings on bioluminescence this month and I'm off to start the next one. However, it looks like I may not finish the next one until next month, since I plan this following painting to be a large landscape with the ocean and organic materials in the foreground. It's going to be a lot of work. But I will at the very least post a few updates this month if I can't complete it until next month. 


Thank you so much for being my patron. More on the science of bioluminescence soon!


PS: Did you know that Crystal jellyfish are cannibals and that they are hard to raise together in captivity because they have a fondness for eating each other? True! And they can open their "mouth" and swallow things at least half as big as they are. Beautiful and hungry little sea monsters that live right outside my door in the oceans off the coast of California!


Tier Benefits
Pledge $0 or more per painting, drawing or fine art piece.
Everyone
Pledge $0.01 or more per painting, drawing or fine art piece.
Patrons Only
Welcome to my Patreon art family!
$1 or more per painting, drawing or fine art piece.
Just one or two bucks will give you behind the scenes access to my works in progress as well as the ability to suggest new design topics. And you can chat with me in the comments or in my Lens feed whenever you want a friend or need some inspiration! You will also be the first to see finished works and any videos I create. 


You get access to my patron only Lens feed where I post daily photos and videos of work in progress and my daily art studio life. Yes, of course my adorable dogs make it into the art videos now and then! Look at that cute puppy belly! 🐾


You will also get any downloads of my pen and ink drawings, paintings or illustrations that you can print at home and/or color! You will also get access to any photos I post. You get all the explanations of what my art is about. And I send out free stickers to my patrons at least every other month. 



Includes

  • Free art stickers or handmade stuff made by me at least every other month!
  • Access to my Patron only posts AND my Lens feed
Limited Special Offer Tier Benefit
$5 or more per painting, drawing or fine art piece.
JUST UNTIL THE END OF SEPTEMBER THIS TIER (and any higher) GETS YOU A FREE LIMITED EDITION PATRON ONLY PENDANT MADE FROM ONE OF MY PAINTINGS OR ILLUSTRATIONS. YOU GET TO PICK THE DESIGN. I’m making A LOT for you to pick from! THEY ARE GORGEOUS AND ONLY FOR MY AWESOME PATREON FAMILY. YOU CAN‘T BUY THEM ONLINE. The only way to get one is to become my patron or find me in the wild! 😄 


HOW THIS SPECIAL OFFER WILL WORK:


***if you currently pledge at this or a higher level you automatically get one and I will reach out to you guys and then to new patrons with a photo of design options to let you pick your thank-you gift. I will begin this process around the 2nd or 3rd week of September then I’ll make the art pendants requested and send them to you as soon as monthly payments process at the end of the month!***


**************************************************


For just five dollars you get the above rewards and I will sometimes post extra art that only 5 and up patrons can see! This reward is also posted on a monthly basis (new each month) in my activity feed for your downloading and viewing convenience. 


Includes:

LIMITED EDITION SPECIAL ART PENDANT OFFER FOR MY PATRONS ONLY!

  • Free art stickers made by me at least every other month!
  • Access to my Lens feed.
  • Bonus downloadable and printable photos and other visual art.


All of the art and some Surly-Ramics!
$20 or more per painting, drawing or fine art piece.
If you pledge this amount, you get the above rewards and I will mail you at least one surprise, handmade, Surly-Ramics necklace made by me. You will get a one time surprise Surly package valued at, at least $48 if you were to buy from my shop.  


Includes

  • Free art stickers made by me at least every other month!
  • Access to my Lens feed.
  • BONUS art each month!
  • One time free Surly-Ramics surprise gift!


EVEN MORE art and jewelry!
$50 or more per painting, drawing or fine art piece.
With this pledge you get all of the above thank you gifts but instead of ONE handmade (by me) Surly-Ramics necklace I will send you at least TWO surprise pieces of ceramic jewelry made by me and picked out special just for you! The value of the Surlies sent to you will be at least $90! 


Includes

  • Free art stickers made by me at least every other month!
  • BONUS art each month!
  • One time gift box of Surly-Ramics valued at at least $90!


Yearly Gift box with a Painting
$100 or more per painting, drawing or fine art piece.
With this pledge you receive the above thank you gifts as well as one signed 11x14 poster print ora completed painting or illustration mailed to you! AND each December I will send you a holiday gift filled with art and goodies AND AN ACTUAL PAINTING as a thank you for supporting!  
Includes
  • Free art stickers made by me at least every other month!
  • Access to my Lens feed.
  • BONUS art each month!
  • Holiday gift box in December!
  • One time free surprise signed art prints!


Recent Posts