Sunday, February 27, 2011

Baby Snakes

I made some progress on the painting of snake hatchlings. Over the last couple of weeks, I've transferred the drawing to panel, put in light warm acrylic 1st layer, and then the cool underpainting for the skull. Today, it took all day to block in the snakes. It took even longer than anticipated because I ended up changing some of the snakes from the original drawing. On casual viewing they might look randomly placed, but in reality, final placement was the result of much thought and experimentation.

The dark warm violet ground will eventually be obscured by grass and ground vegetation. I hope to get the background finished this week.

I'm very happy so far with this piece.... I just hope it turns out as well as the rather vague image in my head.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Final Drawing for Hatchling Snakes

The original idea for this composition did not include the mother snake looped around the skull. But after turning the idea around in my head, I decided it needed something more to complete the composition and lead the eye around the painting.

It is now ready to be transferred to panel. I also have the final drawing done for the wrestling lizard/skull painting ready. I'll be working on both of these modestly sized paintings over the next few weeks.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


While winding down the most recent painting, I've simultaneously been getting some preliminary work done on three new ones.

On Friday, Jude and I went to Golden Gate Park. I brought Freidrich's skull, in order to take a reference photo of the jawless skull laying in grass. I wanted the grass to have an unkept wild look, so the park was the obvious place to go. However, on looking at the photo (above) I decided that the grass in front of the skull would have to be a little bit shorter. This is the skull that will have python babies hatching out of the cranium. So I don't want the snakes in the foreground to get totally lost in overly long blades of grass.

This weekend, I developed a finished drawing of a skull with wrestling lizards. Before finalizing the drawing, I again watched a dvd that I recorded of fighting monitor lizards televised on Nat Geo. The drawing of the lizards above is idealized - the lizards on the dvd footage were never as clearly defined, nor as perfectly posed as I desired. This is very typical - I review internet images, television programs, and books to study the various animals in my paintings. In the end, the final image that I draw is a composite from many different sources.

For the lizards above, I also made some very simple clay lizard figures to help figure out shadows and other relationships. Very crude but it did the trick.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

My Inner Primate

After hours of work, this is finally almost finished. It just needs a bit of clean up and a bit of highlight on the tendons and ligaments.

I've already done quite a bit of work on the next two paintings; more about that in the next post.