The joy of completing a project is not to be underestimated. There is a small but enjoyable release of endorphins, much like a spritz of expensive, expensive perfume, when one checks off that big item on the to-do list.
The camel painting was completed this week. It’s a Megatylopus, a 12-foot beast who roamed the Oklahoma wilds around 10 million years ago. Tall and skinny, it was a browser and probably ran like hell when it had to. Those long legs would put it out front of the pack when Smilodon was on the prowl. I painted into a serene sunset landscape with a calm, meandering stream behind it for water and a few small Hackberry trees for good forage. It looks down its nose with haughty disdain at the lesser creatures of the Miocene, all tawdry, lumbering primitives next to its own elegant self, and smiles secretly. It will go extinct, but it will leave descendants who will migrate to North Africa, and who will someday wander the sands bearing bedrolls, tents, food, water, frankinscense, myrrh and gold.
Painted at half life-size, the camel painting will be photographed, digitally enlarged double (to life-size), wall-mounted with the actual fossil front left leg bones attached in place on the painting. It will be on view at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History in the upcoming exhibit, “Collecting Oklahoma”, to open June 2007.