I’m really pleased with these two pieces and want to explore this theme more; combining terrifying dinosaurs with ‘gentle’ animal heads, such as the deer and rabbit. The hybrids work well, and look convincing enough, with just the right amount of absurdity. I think it is interesting how if your eye is drawn to the head first, the creature looks quite harmless and gentle, but as you take in the body of the velociraptor you realise that a creature like this would actually be very dangerous and frightening, in real life.
This piece draws on a theme I was working on before I started exploring hybrids and fictional creatures; deer. I think this combination of gentle, wise deer head and bulky, reptilian t-rex body works really well together, as it looks absurd yet also believable, due to the mixture of two creatures that did and do exist.
Working with the theme of creating creatures from images cut from vintage imagery, I created some crystal dinosaurs. The crystals are cut from a vintage print, and I don’t think the crystal dinosaurs work particularly well, but it was an interesting exploration. I chose dinosaurs and crystals because of the ethereal, almost magical properties crystals seem to have, combined with dinosaurs which seem very mythical (even though we know they existed), means the images appear quite sci-fi, and almost turn the dinosaurs into insects, which have hard, shiny casings, much like the crystals here.
These two pieces draw on the Bird Eggs pieces I made a few months ago, combining vintage imagery of eggs into a drawing of an animal with an egg for a body. The stegosaurus works well with the egg body, but the t-rex does not. I do quite like this idea of animals with egg bodies, as eggs are very fragile and dainty, whereas dinosaurs were massive, lumbering beasts.
Since I was little, I have always been fascinated by the legend of the Loch Ness Monster. I found all the theories and ‘evidence’ intriguing, and even though I don’t believe in Nessie, I still find myself researching the myth every now and again.
One of my favourite (and most ridiculous, I think) theories about Nessie and the ‘sightings’, is the elephant theory. This theory goes that the vast majority of sightings were due to an escaped circus elephant swimming in the Loch.
The head and spine of the elephant therefore made the distinctive ‘humps’ and head of the monster. I find this theory ridiculous because of how there were no escaped circus elephants roaming Scotland, and because of how unlikely an escaped elephant would be to go for a swim in the freezing Loch.
As my current work explores hybrids and weird creatures, I couldn’t resist making a piece of art about this theory. The resulting artwork is an ‘Infant Loch Ness Monster’ skeleton, comprising of a plesiosaur neck, spine, flippers and tail, and an elephant skull. This piece works because at first glance you would think it was a depiction of an actual extinct aquatic dinosaur, but upon reading the title you realise how absurd it is.
I’ve always found butterflies and moths both interesting and beautiful; tiny weightless intricate insects which can fly and have a very complex life cycle but which end so quickly. By contrast, sea anemones can live much longer, are denser and bulkier. When I found some vintage imagery of sea anemones I wanted to explore trying to make butterflies out of them. The result is as above. The images feel a bit comical-these hefty blobby masses swamping tiny delicate butterfly wings couldn’t possibly fly; the idea seems absurd. I think as a whole the images work quite well together, but separately they do not.
I finally got round to scanning these various drawings into my computer and posting them here. Although my work has now moved away from these representational and fairly realistic animals, they are still key in my development of this portfolio of work. Penwork and mark making has always been the root of my work and I’ll always enjoy drawing whimsical animals. When my current project of hybrid sci-fi animals is finished I’ll be returning to this style of artwork, looking to make some prints and cards to sell.
A few weeks ago I went to four life drawing sessions. I had done some life drawing in first year, where we focussed more on mark making and the actual backgrounds we were drawing onto (which I really enjoyed) but this time it was more about making an image, and really looking at the model to create an informed and realistic interpretation of the model.
I really enjoyed working at an easel again, and drawing something which wasn’t a plant or animal (which my practice really centres around). Here are some of the drawings I made over several sessions. At the time I was quite pleased with them but looking at them now I can see lots of mistakes (mostly with leg proportion and a tendency to avoid details on hands and feet), so in the future I may revisit these drawings and improve them.