Finished! Coryphodons rumaging around the Eocene

Misbehaving Photoshop filters couldn’t stop me finishing! I finally finished it, and I am happy how it came out. It is large, made to be printed out at least 48 inches across, but the detail could hold up a lot larger…I have to print one myself to see how it looks on a format other than a computer screen. Otherwise if you want to see it in action, go to Western Washington University’s Environmental Studies building.
I shot screenshot timelapse video of the whole creation, including the modeling of the clay so hopefully I can get that video together soon. Until then, let me know what you think. Depicted are the creators of trackways found at the Racehorse Creek landslide that inhabited the low lying tropical estuary ~50 million years ago. There are prehistoric analogues of modern Herons, and Willets, and of course the group of Coryphodons- today we have nothing similar or even distantly related. They were fascinating creatures that had perhaps the smallest known brain to body ratio of any mammal. Do you think I created them in a believable rendering? As the artist, I chose all of the non-skeletal features such as hair, color, ears, snout shape, habitus, etc. Large responsibilities for someone who never saw them in real life!
Here are a couple wikipedia links of Coryphodons and the Eocene.

Shadow is done! They have proceeded to pry themselves up off the roof…

Wow, I am so tired but so elated.  Not many art projects turn out just how you plan them to…but this one did!  Yesterday was an amazingly beautiful  and dramatic sunset, and I enjoyed it up on the roof with my constant seagull companions and such cool light. 

A shadow with or without the sun!

I have finally started with the shadow, and it is quite exciting. I have waffled back and forth on the color, and ordered unusable gallons of paint, but in the end…the color is BLUE!

Through and through, with all this atmosphere that our poor sun has to pass through, the shade on the roof that is cast is closest to Kelly Moore’s “blue lake”. Here are a couple images of late…

Safety meeting on the roof…

Check out this VIDEO news brief of my project on KOMO:

News is amazing, this is the third completely different version I have seen!  Different dialog, different anchors, different helicopter footage for each one!

Here is a timelapse from yesterday. It was death defying as you can see…I needed a full body harness to secure my life that was just hanging in the balance. But the clouds and sunset were beautiful. If you think it was hard for the webcam lens to adjust to the constantly shifting light, imagine my eyes!

Last Friday I got booted off the roof until my contract’s so called “tricky wording” (that took 2 months to figure out…) could  be finished for me to sign, so I took the weekend off.  But arriving Wednesday, amazingly the contract lay before me and was made of real paper and I signed it!  Finally!  There were many weird provisions for safety, (“like no horseplay on the jobsite”??- isn’t that the one thing that made pools fun?)   I  had to get a rundown on the procedure before the guy to sign me off on it left, so that sent me racing down to SODO to get a full body harness and rope anchor system.  Certainly got me stoked to return there to get a bosun’s chair for some huge wall in my future…

Coming back refreshed, I have been hitting it pretty hard, finding so many tiny yet major modifications to make to the female.  I was still unhappy with the base color of the legs, so I mixed together a drabber color that looks much better.  Its so funny…why would the 1″ x 1″ color chip under florescent lights at the paint store look any different on an 80 foot leg viewed at an angle from 500 feet up? Going thru the whole process of adding highlights and shadows has been very tedious…its tricky to guage how much shadow to show on the margin of the left side leg 3 Patella, and for that matter how much highlight on the rim of the distal part of right leg 2’s metatarsal?   Deep questions…deeper responses from my rollers.

I am elated to have the RV up here so I can get an early start tomorrow…Its gonna be a whole day on the male.  I look forward to capturing the whole day with time lapse, but the angle is tough to choose.  Puget sound in the distance like today’s video with the sunset and ferries and containers ships, (but with bad glare for the lens), or from the side or back with the space needle in the distance but a very distorted harvestman…hmmm I will sleep on it.

 

Painting is proceeding in all this heat

Its hot up there, but I would DEFINITELY take heat over the constant wind.  Not both.  I can’t use my expensive larder of spraypaint (I had planned on) because the paint just gets shoved right up into the stratosphere to never pigment evermore.  That said, the mural is progressing like I would have hoped.  Some things are moving slower, some faster, but overall I would go on record saying I am slightly behind.  I have went ahead in exactly the opposite order than I had planned…I will now do the shadow LAST, and everything else first. But that will be super fun because it “pops” already, but with the shadow, it will look so believable.  I can’t wait to do that!

Here is a timelapse from today:

timelapse painting of female opiliones

I started off using about 30 fat lumber marking crayons, which worked great, and had to outline the odd shapes and abstract nature of the Opiliones skewing long.  They are stretched so that the viewers at the observation level of the Space Needle will see a believable 3D illusion.

I made models and photographed them on site at about 1pm to get their shadows.

And when it came time to paint, I laid down a thick dark brown coat of paint that would be my silhouette.  Even with a few legs painted…no details, no highlights, no shadow, they looked amazingly alive and 3D.  Very reassuring and overall it is turning out better than I could have hoped.  Especially from my eavesdropping on passersby at the observation level…everyone seems to notice and get who they are up there with to look at the “spiders”.  Lots of kids showing their parents.  I love it.