Color Sketches from Down Under

Here is just another example of a complex reconstruction which I had to paint in oils in record time and which required a lightning-fast color sketch to establish the palette I would use. This was also part of the “National Geographic Prehistoric Mammals” book, a project where I had little room for hesitation in terms of my compositions.

My preliminary pencil sketch defined anatomy, action and composition rather precisely, but I still needed to visualize the atmosphere

I had in mind an open environment as indicated in descriptions of the late Pleistocene of Australia where the fossils of the marsupial “lion” (Thylacoleo) and giant kangaroo (Sthenurus) were found.

This oil sketch only has some 15 cm in length and the fabric of the canvas shows quite clearly. I spent about an hour working on it and I quickly defined the warm, earthy colors of the terrain and dry vegetation and the sharp blue sky

While preparing the final painting shown here, I decided to make some changes relative to the color sketch. I included some thorny, dry bushes, and I changed the color of the sky to a more silvery hue with more sharply defined clouds.

As in other cases, the color sketch made me feel comfortable about the whole palette of the painting, and such last minute changes as I did felt more like calculated risks than blind turns.

Posted on 23/08/2017, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Andrew Stuck

    I always liked this one. I definitely get the sense of the muscular power of both species.

  2. I remember reading that recent research suggests that Sthenurine kangaroos couldn’t hop like modern kangaroos. What do you think about it?

  1. Pingback: #SVP2017 Edition: Fossil Friday Roundup: August 25, 2017 | PLOS Blogs Network

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