The relationship between birds and their dinosaur ancestry in the Mesozoic Era was first discovered in the 1860s, when specimens of the early bird Archeopteryx were found. Today, feathers are a unique feature of birds, but exquisitely preserved fossils from Jurassic age rocks in China show that was not always the case. It is now apparent that many small dinosaurs also had feathers and there is a growing acceptance of the likelihood that larger dinosaurs may have had them as well.
Inspired by the new understanding dinosaurian plumage, I completed this painting in the spring of 2005 and wanted to show a small feathered dinosaur as it might have appeared in the late-Cretaceous, some 70 million years ago. Isolated on a dry lakebed, a small flock is investigating the remains of a ceratopsian, perhaps a Triceratops.
This painting is oil on canvas, 24 x 30 inches.
Inspired by mariner star charts, this work shows both the familiar stars and figures of classical mythology behind the constellations of Orion, Taurus, Canis Major, Lepus, Eridanus, and Monoceras. This region of the sky contains an unusually large concentration of bright stars whose arrangement has been widely interpreted in myth and legend.
In classical Western mythology, Orion is the Hunter. He is one of the most recognizable constellations in the sky and many ancient cultures associated its stars with a representation of a man or giant. The Egyptians saw him as Osiris, god of the afterlife. In contrast, aborigines in Australia saw the three prominent stars that form his belt as three people in a canoe, the ends of which marked by the reddish star Betelgeuse and the blue-white star Rigel, marking his left foot. Orion's left shoulder is the star Bellatrix, the Amazon star. Bellatrix gets its name from the legend of the Amazons, female warriors so fierce that they would cut off their left breast so they could better draw a bow.
Venturing somewhat away from most printed references, we will now address the topic of Orion's sword. It is a prominent feature, hanging down between his legs. As often told, Orion was very vain and chased the Seven Sisters, the Pleiades, across the sky. I've often wondered why Orion is always depicted holding a club. If it were me, I'd use the sword. Then again, maybe that's no sword at all and our familiar interpretation is merely a filter of modesty.
Don't believe me? Consider the Egyptian version of the story. According to their myth, Osiris was killed by his brother Set, who wanted to take the throne as Pharaoh. He cut up the body and threw it in the Nile. Isis, Osiris's wife, gathered up the pieces to put him back together and, according to myth, was missing just one very important piece. So she fashioned a golden replacement and with the help of a magical spell, was able to bring Osiris back to life for just long enough to get pregnant. Isis then gave birth to a son, Horus. The Egyptians make no mention of a sword.
This painting is oil on canvas, approx. 30 x 60 inches.
Art and astronomy have a relationship that goes back at least to Paleolithic times. It is almost as if humans have a natural inclination to represent the beauty of the natural world into works that carry important personal meaning. It is a fundamental way in which can communicate, transcending language.
There are few things that I enjoy more than raising a paintbrush to a canvas and letting my thoughts take form in a medium that other people can see and understand. As a child, I was a habitual drawer and while I enjoyed the art classes offered in school, it was only as a college student that I began to dabble in oil paints. In truth, I still consider myself a dabbler, being mostly self-taught through experimentation. Most of my subjects tend to be consistent with the themes associated with the Oldest Show on Earth. This page is meant to be an online gallery, mostly just to share. Please check back soon!
Last Updated 22 Dec 2020.
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