Photograph of microcrystals from chocolate

NOTES FROM THE STUDIO/LAB Encounters with Art and Science January 2023


CUMULUS -Photograph of crystalline phenylethylamine found in chocolate. -NEW!


"The job of the artist is to deepen the mystery."

— Sir Francis Bacon - writer and philosopher




The beginning of the new year traditionally leads to thoughts of New Year's resolutions, an attempt to redesign some part of our lives for the better. Here in the studio/lab I got to thinking my crystal photos should be honored and displayed in the best way possible. So, I'm pleased to announce the launch of a brand new, and I believe much improved, Photography of Crystal's website.

I've rebuilt the site from the ground up, with the goal of providing a more attractive gallery for the artwork and greater ease of navigation for my guests. It is still a work in progress, so I'll be adding more artwork and helpful content in the coming weeks; stay tuned.


A terrific way to see my artwork in person is by visiting the Arizona Fine Art Expo, home to my studio/gallery until March 26. This is my eighth season under the big (40,000+ square feet) white tents, which I share with 80 very talented local, national, and international artists.

It took me the better part of three days to set up my studio, but it was well worth the effort. In addition to plenty of crystal photos on display, I'm able to have a fully functioning crystal growing laboratory, complete with microscope and a monitor to show visitors all the action. So be sure to tell your friends and plan on a visit to the show.

The Arizona Fine Art Expo is located at the SW corner of Scottsdale and Jomax Road, 26540 N. Scottsdale Rd. in North Scottsdale, Admission for a season pass is $12 for adults, $10 seniors and military, and children under 12 are free. Show hours: 10-6pm daily. Wheelchair accessible with Free Parking. You can find me there everyday with the exception of Tuesday and Wednesday, and the weekend of Feb 4 and 5, when you can find me at the Kierland Art and Wine Festival, Kierland Commons-Phoenix, AZ.



January 13-March 26, 2023 Arizona Fine Art Expo -Scottsdale,AZ

January 31, 2023 Hot Coffee Arts Lecture -Goodyear Civic Center, Goodyear, AZ

February 4 and 5, 2023 Kierland Fine Arts and Wine Festival -Phoenix, AZ

June 23-25, 2023 Utah Arts Festival -Salt Lake City, UT (TBD)



INCLINATIONS- Photograph of crystalline acetaminophen and

  salicylic acid found in Excedrin® NEW!



A First-Rate Collaboration: Bostelmann and Beebe

Collaborations in the sciences are quite common, with scientists from multiple disciplines coming together as a team to work together toward a singular project goal. Although artists are typically lone-wolf in their pursuits, they also occasionally bring their talents together on large-scale endeavors.

History is also rich with stories of scientists and artists joining forces on a collaborative effort for the simple reason that most scientists are typically lousy artists. In order for scientific discoveries to be effectively communicated, bringing an artist on board is just the ticket.

One of the more productive science/art collaborations involved the earliest explorations of the deep sea. In a book that captured my imagination as a youth, Half Mile Down, scientist and explorer William Beebe describes descending beneath the ocean's waves inside a large metal ball, that he called a "Bathysphere" to depths of, you guessed it, a half-mile.

These epoch-making dives began in the 1930s and were the first time anyone had visited this ocean environment. Beebe, an explorer, marine biologist, ornithologist, and ecologist (before that term even existed), was an eloquent and captivating writer, but he soon realized that words alone could not describe the wonders of this new habitat. As Beebe states, "Adequate presentation of what I saw on these dives is one of the most difficult things I ever attempted."

Fortunately for Beebe, artist Else Bostelmann heard that the National Geographic Society was sponsoring a trailblazing oceanographic expedition to explore this ocean realm from Beebe's research station located in the Bahamas. She contacted Beebe, offered her considerable artistic talents to the project, and was signed on.


Although Beebe felt that Bostelmann, being a single mother with a teenage daughter, would be simply put into too much danger if she was to descend in the Bathysphere (for example, it had filled with water on a previous unmanned test dive), they worked out a system. She was to base her initial drawings while speaking with Beebe via a telephone line that ran inside the hose which tenuously connected Beebe and his Bathysphere to the research vessel. After returning to the ship, Beebe recalled that the two of them would go into an "artistic huddle" and refine the "proportions, size, color, lights" until a "splendid finished painting" emerged that accurately depicted their latest deep-sea discovery.

Using this system, Bostelmann created more than 300 paintings of marine creatures, many of which had never before been seen by humans. Her paintings brought Beebe's books and lectures vividly to life, eventually making their way into museums and magazines and the imaginations of the general public.


               Saber-toothed Viper Fish and Ocean Sunfish -Else Bostelmann


Else Bostelmann's captivating artwork inspired a wide audience including future generations of scientists fascinated by the extraordinary wonders of the deep ocean realm. Collaborations, like Beebe and Bostelmann's, can often have a synergistic effect, where the results are much more than simply the sum of their individual parts, and instead open a new world, rich with mystery and potential.


"Nothing in the upper world can compare with the luxury of this nether realm of the sea, with its colors, its atmosphere of mystery, of poise, and tranquility. -Else Bostelmann -artist


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