Monday, December 31, 2007

Painting the Long-beaked Echidna

Long-beaked echidnas look rather different than the short-beaked ones most people are familiar with. I tried to give it short fur, without many individual brushstrokes. I also put some purple and blue in the coat, which didn't show up very well in the scan. Incidentally, I painted this partially in the dark due to the power being out.

And with this picture, I've finished the ten focus species for 2007, in the last 2 hours of 2007! I hope to begin to paint the remaining animals on the 100 list. I'll have to see if there is a list of focals for 2008. This has been a fun project; I enjoyed learning about all of these species, and at the same time trying out different art techniques and poses.

Long-beaked Echidna

The long-beaked echidna, Zaglossus bruijni, is a solitary creature that can grow to almost 2 feet in length. They have no teeth; their tongues are covered in small projections that help hook worms, insect larvae, and termites. Females can lay several eggs at once, keeping the young in the pouch until they start developing their spines. Long-beaked echidnas are found in Papua New Guinea, where hunting by local people and habitat destruction are leading to their endangerment. A related species, Attenborough's long-beaked echidna (Z. attenboroughi) was thought to be extinct. However, recent evidence may confirm that a population still survives.

Painting the Hispaniolan Solenodon

Solenodons are pretty weird things (especially the Cuban one). They look a lot like the R.O.U.S.'s from the Princess Bride. They're a good trivia question too, with their venomous spit. I still have trouble mixing up various shades of the tannish color that a lot of animals like to be. This is yet another tiny-eyed creature.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Hispaniolan Solenodon

The Hispaniolan solenodon, Solenodon paradoxus, is a somewhat clumsy nocturnal burrower. This animal is unusual because it can secrete toxic saliva from a lower incisor, making it one of the very few venomous mammals. It also has a special bone known as the os proboscis that supports its long snout. Hispaniolan solenodons are found in the forests of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. They are in danger of extinction due to habitat loss and human-introduced predators.

Painting the Slender Loris

Lorises always look so soft and plushy. And they have strangely human arms and legs. Many of the photos I found had them crunching on bugs and lizards. Baby lorises are both very cute and a bit scary. I tried to make the other paintings without any sort of background or "props" other than the animal, but I couldn't come up with a natural pose of a slender loris without a tree limb.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Slender Loris

The Slender Loris, Loris tardigradus, is a nocturnal primate found in Sri Lankan forests. It eats insects, small vertebrates, flowers, and tree gum. The tailless animal spends much of the day rolled in a ball sleeping, sometimes in groups. Slender lorises rarely leave the trees. This species is hunted for folk medicines and meat; its habitat is also being destroyed.

Painting the Pygmy Hippopotamus

I have seen a pygmy hippo in real life, yay! He was in a zoo in Hawaii, being very cute and chubby, and he yawned as I looked down on him. Looking up reference photos makes me want to paint pygmy hippos every day, all the time. They all look very shiny and squishy. Baby hippos are almost too cute to exist!

I love taking pictures of animals with their mouths open, and to a lesser extent, painting them with their mouths open. I'm not really sure why; I guess to me it adds a bit more interest than an animal just standing there. I also like getting a photo of an animal scratching itself. Yes, I'm weird. By the way, my cat was helpful in the positioning of the legs of the previous hippo picture. She doesn't look very hippo-like, but I'll take any quadruped I can get to stand there and pose.