Wednesday, October 24, 2007
I'm doing these paintings in random order, but I decided to finish the Yangtze River Dolphin next. It makes me sad to think that they're most likely extinct, or have so few left that the population won't recover. I tried not to make it look too cute, but what can you do when it's already smiling? This one gave me some trouble; it's so smooth, I couldn't hide my brushstrokes with fur texture. I ended up darkening it a bit more than I had intended to do. Most of my reference photos were from dead animals with varying colors, so hopefully this is accurate. Strange fact about me: I always paint the eyes of animals last (I think most people start with the eyes). On this painting, it pretty much looked the same before and after I added the eye.
Monday, October 22, 2007
The Yangtze River Dolphin, Lipotes vexillifer, is also known as the Baiji. It is a freshwater species found only in a small portion of the Chang Jiang. It probes the muddy river bottom with its upturned snout for fish. Little else is known about these secretive animals. The dolphin was determined to be functionally extinct at the end of 2006; however, there was a possible sighting in August of 2007. The Yangtze River Dolphin's numbers declined due to boat collisions, loss of habitat, hunting, and capture in fishermen's nets.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
For each animal, I'll make another post like talking a bit about the process of painting, plus any other fun facts. According to The Ultimate Ungulate Page, an excellent resource if I do say so myself, there is only one captive hirola (an elderly female in Texas). This picture is a female, since they have more reddish coloring than the grayer males. As seems to be a very common problem, I couldn't find any good photos of the hirola's feet, so I did the best I could on leg coloring and hoof structure. I had to sculpt a little head out of my rubber eraser to get the angle of the horns to look right.
Again, I had very few references, and I used some photos of different antelopes I took at the San Diego Zoo to finish this picture. Hirolas have long strange faces that are fun to draw, with a neat chevron between their eyes. Their preorbital glands are a bit disturbing to me.
Monday, October 15, 2007
The Hirola, Damaliscus hunteri, is also known as the four-eyed antelope, due to its large preorbital glands. Both males and females have ridged, lyre-shaped horns. These antelopes are found on arid plains in south-east Somalia and Kenya. The estimated 600 wild hirola are threatened by poaching and habitat loss.