Creodonts of the Chuckanuts…as told by a Tapir Toddler
I am finished with my paleo painting! It was quite the diabolical time sink, but I am quite pleased with how it came out. I have painted many discrete subjects over the years, but creating a fully rendered environment in and around a given creature is a full-on leap in complexity and dimensions. Gotta “cut your teeth” on a project of this magnitude at some point…might as well be when you should be packing to leave for Sulawesi and have no time anyway.
I worked on this digital painting in ways that I never could on a traditional (i.e. gouache or acrylic) painting. For example, I painted all the characters first, and created the background around them. What are perhaps my favorite benefits of pushing pixels on a monitor- rather than traditional art- are the endless ways to manipulate specific layers. One has the ability to work on a background behind the foreground, play with the nuances of opacity (so awesome), and pick the perfect color immediately. But perhaps most valuable of all is being able to experiment in a direction for a time, to realize it isn’t going how I want, so I can delete what I did or backtrack and continue in another direction. These 4 aspects are invaluable.
What I lose in doing a digital piece are the tiny little accidents of color and form that happen in traditional painting. And perhaps better posture? I became a hunched vulture laboring over my wacom tablet. Click these words to check out another painting I did of a: Diatryma in the Chuckanuts This was entirely acrylic paint so you can contrast these two pieces. What do you prefer about each?
I tried very hard to turn the whole process into a video, but sadly it wasn’t to be: I was unable to find the right automated screenshot recording software (anyone know what I can use?). While I was squandering my time researching software instead of painting, the videos I had used in the beginning were really poor resolution and I gave up. But I had the idea to make each flattened layer a different frame of a time lapse video, so stacking all them together will be an upcoming project.
I loved thinking about this incredible time to be on the planet. Washington in the tropics teeming with tapirs, creodonts, and giant flightless birds- wickedly sweet! The creatures that evolved to fill the Cenozoic vacuum left by demise of the dinosaurs are endless daydream fodder for me. If anyone knows anyone with a time travel device, we need to talk.
Please let me know what you think! Enjoy!