I've been long fascinated by Komodo Dragons, the fearsome predators of the island from which they take their name. With their large size, venomous bite and superior intelligence, they are a match for any size prey on the island including the occasional human. As a trip to the island is unlikely in the near future, I've been seeking reference online as well as planning a visit to a zoo in the US in preparation for a painting. Even though they are rare in the wild, found only on a handful of islands around Komodo in the South Pacific, they are quite numerous in zoos here in the States. Though some have been wild caught, a large number have been hatched in the zoos and shared between institutions.
I've also been fortuitous to have reference provided by a daughter's friend who completed an internship studying these beguiling creatures. Below are some studies I've completed based upon her photos and online resources while planning a zoo visit.
One thing to keep in mind when using zoo animals for reference is that due to lack of exercise and the steady diets inherent in captivity, physical appearance and habits can be quite different than those in the wild, underscoring the need for a wide range of reference materials. Visiting the animal in its native environment provides the correct reference as well as study the flora and fauna for the background of a painting. This painting, by the time it's completed, will most likely have taken a three to four year journey from original inspiration to the canvas, including this search for background materials.
If interested, this video on the Discovery Channel demonstrates just how wily a predator they are.
|8 x 10, Watercolor Pencil on Paper. |
I love the colors of their skin in the sun, which
ranges from blue-green on the face to a brown on the body.
Original Photo Credit: iStockphoto/Anna Yu