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The San Diego Zoo Murals – Part Twenty Five

I finally finished the saber-toothed cats to my satisfaction (Rick! Are they OK?)

The mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) family is finished, too.

My wife has a way of dropping bombs on me as I’m painting. This time it was “Your cheetah’s too big.” I tried to explain that no, this was a giant cheetah and that it was in correct proportion to the western horse.

The really irritating thing about my wife, though, is that she’s usually right. That little burr she implanted in my brain just kept itching and itching. I kept looking at the cheetah, trying to wish and will it into correctness. With so little time left to complete the murals, I didn’t want to do a complete re-do on that damned cheetah.

But (once again) she was right.

For the cheetah to have been that size he would have to be placed lower in the picture. As he was, the cheetah was pretty much on the same plane as the bison, and there was no way the cheetah was THAT big.

So, I did what I had to do and repainted him smaller and in a lower position on the canvas so that the cheetah looked like it was on the same plane as the horses. I was bothered, though, that the cheetah’s focus did not seem to be on either of the horses. So, I painted out the head and neck, then changed the position of the head so that it looked like this:

Much better. The cheetah now looks like it is going after the colt. The next step is to paint out the original cheetah.

“Nothing” left now except the landscape. I better get on it!

3 thoughts on “The San Diego Zoo Murals – Part Twenty Five

  1. The saber-tooth on the left looks classic. It conjures the images drawn by Charles Knight (and I mean that as high praise). The one on the right is a different perspective than I am used to and the face looks particularly compelling, it really draws your attention (which I find happens when I look at a predator’s face). I would very much like to see the whole mural in the perspective intended. Guess we’ll need to travel to San Diego in the not too distant future.

  2. The sabertooths are wonderful, Bill…as is the entire painting and every little element in it. Leaving the original cheetah there to work from was a cool idea. And I forgot to mention in the previous thread how cool the mammoth is both on the skin texture and the tusk texture.

    I think you should take a bow for every figure in both paintings. It is much deserved.

  3. Hi Rick Conrad,
    The saber-tooth you mention is definitely an homage to Charles R. Knight. I try to include one Knight homage per mural commission, if possible.

    Hi Rick Catizone,
    Thanks for your kind words! Your private e-mail to me regarding the saber-tooth helped to make me especially alert when finishing it.

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