Guild of Natural Science Illustrators 2007 Conference in Bozeman Montana
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Every year the GNSI Annual Conference provides a place for members to reunite, network and participate in high quality workshops and presentations to help improve their skills and understanding of the field of scientific illustration. This year in Bozeman, we will be opening the conference with renowned Curator of Paleontology at the Museum of the Rockies, Jack Horner. His address, titled “How the dinosaurs changed their stripes," will introduce new perspectives from his research on dinosaur growth and behavior, while discussing how this has affected illustrators’ depiction of dinosaurs in their work.

Following Jack will be sculptor Matt Smith and artist Doug Henderson who have each worked with Jack at the MOR. Matt, who has been an artist in residence at the MOR, will present a 3D model constructed from the examination of the fossils of an extinct species. Doug will take us on a tour through the history of life through the Cretaceous period, with samples from all stages of his work from field sketches to final pieces. Come see how these two accomplished artists help communicate research to the scientific community and the public through their art.

In addition to the highly anticipated keynote address, this year we are introducing some exciting new features to the conference line-up. Scheduling coordinator Cindy Shaw has expanded on the Paleo Session concept by adding Geo Science talks that we hope will have a little something for everyone. In response to the always popular Business Roundtable, we’re introducing a Digital Roundtable where members will be able to pose their digital questions to a diverse and knowledgeable group of digital artists. Gabrielle Sivitz will give us a taste of Montana history with her Lewis and Clark presentation. Of course we hope that you will take advantage of the beautiful surroundings Bozeman offers through one of our field trips or by exploring on your own. And as always, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to learn from our talented members as they reveal the tricks of their trade in our digital and traditional workshops. So join us in Bozeman! We hope to see you there.

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A Personal Note from Carolyn Withrow, Conference Coordinator

An eagle tilts its wings high above sunlit blue mountain ranges - high on a cliff rim, a mountain goat is suspended on a Montana mountains ledge - rocks slide off into the air - a man on horseback moves cattle across a lush green pasture, surrounded by mountains shooting 10,000 feet above the valley floor - rustic homesteads reflect a pioneer past: a place of men and women grounded in the earth.

I love the West and have lived there all of my life, so when I learned that the site for the 2007 GNSI conference would be held in a western city, I was interested in being a part of it.

In particular, Montana and the Northern Rockies provided some of my first glimpses of true wildlife, glaciers and the grand diversity of landform in the American West from frontier prairie to mountaintop.

montana mountains

My Dad was determined to instill in us kids the idea that there was more to see around the bend ahead than where one lived, so we often took off driving in different directions whenever we had the chance. In retrospect I am very grateful, and though I was very young, many of my recollections from these trips return to me often with an enduring savor.

So as my husband and I made our way North from the Eastern plains of Colorado last summer, first through the Tetons’ riotous mass of jagged peaks, then through Yellowstone’s majestic landscapes of white phlox blooms and grazing elk, “my memory filled like a dry arroyo, when the first edge of the water comes”- to coin a phrase from poet Drum Hadley.

Yes, the inevitable signs of growth and expansion were there; the towns were much bigger than I remember and the tourists more numerous, but there is no question that the allure of Montana is still there. After the great fires of 1988, Yellowstone too is different, and the rebirth can be seen everywhere within its boundaries. The slopes are alive with the brilliant and vibrant green of new growth trees, and in a state that has the third lowest population density in the U.S., the air is still clear and the stars are bright in the night skies.

montana mountains

As I have looked over several annual conference websites from past years, I am amazed at how each location stands on its own as a place to appreciate. In addition, conferences are unique in that they allow members the opportunity to connect with their natural surroundings, where sometimes the most valuable lessons are discovered, whether you are a scientist, artist or both. You learn to stop talking and start listening and begin to engage in all that goes on around you - an important lesson for us all! Follow in the footsteps of early inhabitants of this area, mountain men, pioneers and the Corps of Discovery and explore all that Montana has to offer.

I hope that you will join us in Bozeman this summer and find out why it is a place where discovery is nothing new!


Carolyn Withrow
2007 Conference Coordinator