Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Walk in the (Cretaceous) Woods

Sometimes, ya jes' gotta paint DINOSAURS!!

Deinonychus,raptor,Cretaceous,dinosaur,tree fern,cycad,macaw palm,Wollemia nobilis,wollemi pine,forest,mist,fog,yellow
A Walk in the Mist -- Deinonychus   10" x 8" / 25cm x 20cm

Here we have a group of Deinonychus ("die-NO-nee-kus"), a raptor species that was about 6'-7'/2m tall (and was what the "velociraptors" really were in the Jurassic Park movies). It's likely that, like modern-day lions, they finished gorging themselves on a kill and are now looking for a safe place to sleep it off -- safe from critters that might eat them!

Deinonychus lived in the late Cretaceous -- a hot, muggy, carbon dioxide-heavy time. Thus, I wanted the air to appear very foggy but still lit up by the blazing afternoon sun.

Although these dinos are long extinct, most of the plants I've depicted are still around -- "living relics" or "living fossils." The tall trees are Wollemia nobilis or Wollemi pine -- I believe they're limited today in the wild to SE Australia but can be found in landscaping for homes or businesses -- they're attractive trees! To the left is a cycad or sago palm, and further back are some taller Macaw palms, Acrocomia aculeata. And, of course, tree ferns and other species of low-growing ferns and mosses.

(Ya know -- finding resources to visualize dinosaurs isn't hard, but information about how extinct plants looked takes more effort!)

I'm not a dinosaur expert -- my area was microbiology -- but I do have a childlike fascination with these animals. They give me an opportunity to paint something a little different while applying what I've learned about Old Masters techniques and composition in art. I wanted to get away from the edge-to-edge sharpness that I see so often in paleoart and illustration; thus, the only spots in this painting that are detailed are the dinos and the treefern to their upper right. (Treeferns, by the way, are my favorite plants, especially the species that grow on Kauai'i (Cibotium chamissoi), even more than organ pipe cactus and Joshua trees.

I'm curious to see what kind of reaction I get from potential collectors. I have no idea what the market is for artwork like this -- I suspect it's limited -- but if works like these sell, I may have to work bigger in the future!


No comments: