Anatomy of a prehistoric mural: the Olduvai Bed 1 scene

The first of the large environmental paintings that I did for the exhibition “The Cradle of Human Kind” was a reconstruction of the landscape and fauna of Olduvai Bed 1, Tanzania. As in all the paintings I did for this project, the advantages of working in a digital format became evident during the process of review and information exchanges with the exhibit curators, Manuel Domínguez Rodrigo and Enrique Baquedano. For instance, when the painting was well underway I was told that the relative sizes of the distant volcanoes needed to be corrected; then at some point I was asked to put more palm trees in the scene, in order to reflect the data from the fossil site…

Here we see the background landscape of Olduvai Bed 1, without the animals and much of the foreground vegetation.
olduvai bed 1 capa 1

In complex scenes like this I usually end up with a large pile of layers, even though I am constantly trying to combine them to get as few as possible. But this is the only way to preserve the freedom to modify any of the main elements without ruining the work you have done in adjacent areas.

Here is the same Olduvai Bed 1 scene with some of the upper digital layers in place. Some of the animals and foreground vegetation are now visible.
olduvai bed 1 capa 3- animales

You can watch a video showing the whole sequence of layers from background to complete scene, hominid band and all, in YouTube:

The books that accompany this exhibition will soon be available for ordering through “Wild World Visuals”, be sure to check the site regularly:


Posted on 01/04/2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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