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The Sketches and Science Musings of Raven Amos



Updated: 2017-09-07T17:36:19.437-07:00

 



"Archosaurs & Robots" Art Show Opening Tonight in Homer

2013-04-05T11:39:38.338-07:00

Tonight is First Friday, and that means "Archosaurs & Robots" is a go! This show will feature previous works from Scott Elyard and I's previous exhibitions - "Dinosaurs & Robots" and "Archosaurs & Automata" - as well as a couple of new pieces.

If you are in Homer, AK during the month of April, come check out the show at K-Bay Caffe on Pioneer Avenue, next to The Grog Shop. Opening reception will be tonight at 6 p.m.




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In other somewhat related news, a version of "Swamp Dragon" is now available through the Neatorama blog's "Neatoshop" as a high-quality t-shirt. Stay tuned for new designs!



Were Dinosaurs "Lounge Lizards"?

2013-07-16T10:28:12.713-07:00

Painting by Steve Kirk.A question I have often asked myself during my renewed interest in dinosaurs and paleontography is "what is a proper dinosaur resting posture?" I have seen many different artists portray dinosaur resting much like what you see in the Steve Kirk painting to the left, and John Conway's sleeping tyrannosaur painting in the book "All Yesterdays" - on their sides, lounging like lions, or in this case, like a tuckered-out kangaroo. But is this necessarily accurate? Could dinosaurs, in fact, lounge in this way?I am skeptical of this -"lounging," as is depicted here, is something that I've found in my studies (admittedly limited in comparison to some of my readers) to be a distinctly mammalian trait. Crocodiles, birds, and squamates do not, in my experience, exhibit this kind of resting behavior where they lay upon their sides, with the majority of their weight upon their ribcage, hip, and tucked-under leg.Birds have a variety of sleeping postures and habits ranging from snoozing standing up (sometimes on one leg!), to nesting with both legs folded up under the body, to perching - or, in the case of some hummingbird species, hanging upside-down like little, feathery bats. Their heads are either tucked behind the wing, or pulled into their bodies with their beaks resting on their chests....or like this.(Photo by Rinaldo Santos de Almeida)Crocodiles and squamates "lounge" in a different fashion from birds, but still do not have the same kind of world-class lounging skills that a mammal, like a dog or cat, does. Both clades typically rest flat on their bellies, with legs splayed out to the sides, sometimes with their bodies looping around upon itself to conserve heat.Photo removed at the request of the image distributor.I am curious as to what my readers think - based on the behaviors of these dinosaur kin and cousins, is it still possible that dinosaurs could still lounge in the fashion of leopards, lions, and lemurs? Feel free to leave comments below.[...]



Lesser Bowertyrants - All Yesterdays Contest Entry

2013-03-15T16:32:22.837-07:00

I know, it's been awhile and I still haven't posted something on my blog here about the art show in January. I did want to do a quick update and post my second entry for Irregular Books' "All Yesterdays" art contest (entry #1 being my "Swamp Dragon" icthyovenator painting).



X-posted from my DeviantArt page:


I title this piece "Lesser Bowertyrants" - it depicts a courting pair of Gorgosaurus, with the male displaying his mating colors and feathers, offering his potential mate a Lambeosaurus skull trophy. The bower is an "avenue" type bower, with carefully arranged driftwood logs and scavenged bones on either side of a narrow aisle festooned with stones, bits of wood, and chunks of vertebrae - anything that is white or light in color. Other bowertyrants, such as the "Greater Bowertyrant", or Tyrannosaurus rex, create their bowers from strategically gnawed trees, adorned with the decapitated heads of triceratops or other prey animals. All species are able to cannibalize the more edible parts of their bowers in times of drought or famine, deriving an extra shot of calcium from the bones therein. Indeed, it is the very reason the male offers the choicest bits to his would-be mate - the extra calcium in the offered bones allows for better egg production and a healthier brood.


(image)
"Game of Bones"
I had originally planned on adding additional sketches of other species of bowertyrant, including T. rex (greater bowertyrant), Albertosaurus, and the more distantly related Tarbosaurus, but time got away from me. As you can see from the sketch on the left, the greater bowertyrant's "love palace" is quite different, and more grim, than it's smaller cousin's, inspired in part by the Nature article on how T. rex may have butchered his Triceratops prey.

In other news, Scott Elyard and I will be putting on an art show in Homer, AK next month. More on that soon.




All Yesterdays Contest Entry - "Bowertyrants"

2013-01-14T18:59:39.267-08:00

#AllYesterdays and #10oclockart entry - "Bowertyrants"

Something to fill the gap while I draft something up for a synopsis of our show opening in Anchorage this month.

I give you Gorgosaurus libratus - or as I am calling here, the "lesser bowertyrant" - in wild turkey livery, puffing up for an as-yet-painted female, showing off some choice items from the collection of bones, stones, and driftwood that make up his bower.

I will include other notes and sketches detailing the gregarious behavior of young males, banding together to bring down large game to add to their collections, and how as they age, they become more solitary and confrontational, choosing to stick around their home territories. Thievery and vandalism is rampant among neighboring mature males, and such acts often lead to violence, injury, or even death if the neighbor happens to be caught in the act. The strongest and most ferocious may even display the skulls of their bested rivals - a surefire way to impress a potential mate.



Ichthyovenator laosensis - "Swamp Dragon"

2012-12-12T16:57:06.638-08:00

#10oclockart - Finished my ichthyovenator painting for the #ArchosaursandAutomata art show in record time!

(image)
Swamp Dragon © 2012 Raven Amos
Ichthyovenator laosensis - the fish-eating hunter of Laos, known only from a single type specimen found in the Aptian age Grès supérieurs Formation. Siamamia, a Cretaceous cousin of the North American bowfin fish, is known from similarly aged rocks in the Sakon Nakhon Province of Northeastern Thailand.

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References:

Cavin, L., V. Suteethorn, E. Buffetaut, J. Claude, G. Cuny, J. Le Loeuff, and H. Tong (2007), "The first sinamiid fish (Holostei, Halecomorpha) from Southeast Asia (Early Cretaceous of Thailand)", Journal Of Vertebrate Paleontology, v. 27(4), pp. 827-837.

Switek, Brian. "Ichthyovenator: The Sail-Backed Fish Hunter of Laos." Dinosaur Tracking - Smithsonian Magazine Blogs (2012), n. page. Web.

"Ichthyovenator." Prehistoric Wildlife. (http://www.prehistoric-wildlife.com/species/i/ichthyovenator.html), n.d. Web. 02 December 2012.



Siamamia Has A Bad Day

2012-12-10T16:25:24.375-08:00

#10colockart (the "it's 10 somewhere" edition) - Closeup of facial details of Ichthyovenator and the work done on the Siamamia in its jaws.





Dino Zodiac/Archosaurs & Automata

2012-12-06T01:58:18.502-08:00

#10oclockart Ichthyovenator/Pisces. I just might be able to finish this in time for the show!


A somewhat fanciful (see, Zach? I called it "fanciful"!) representation of the spinosauroid from Laos, known only from a pelvic girdle and a few bits of vertebrae. The fossil shows a strange, dual-hump configuration, with flat, paddle-like neural spines that abruptly reduce in size at the joining of the hips with the trunk of the body.




Conchoraptor gracilis - "Nemegt Sunrise"

2012-12-02T00:46:50.003-08:00


#10oclockart PM edition - It's FINALLY finished! Sorta.

(image)
Nemegt Sunrise © 2012 Raven Amos
This is the "finished" version of Conchoraptor that is going in the upcoming Archosaurs and Automata art show. Eventually I will return to this and add in the missing elements to the painting to bring it back in line with the "Dino Zodiac" project.

The crab in its claws is purely speculative, given there is no fossil evidence of hermit crabs found in the Nemegt Formation. The shell that it inhabits, a species of Viviparus, is known from the neighboring Dohoin Usu fossil beds to the north, which are of a similar age to the Nemegt formation (Late Cretaceous).

Special thanks to Jamie Headden for the pointers on oviraptor anatomy, and to Scott Elyard for helping to keep me sane.

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References:

Ping, Chi; Granger, Walter. (1930). "Two new Cretaceous fresh-water gastropods from Mongolia". American Museum Novitates; No. 437.



Nemegt Sunrise

2012-11-28T02:02:07.592-08:00

P.M. entry for #10oclockart - sunrise over the Nemegt River Delta of Cretaceous Mongolia.


Flora from the Maastrichtian era Nemegt Formation is spotty at best, but existing fossil evidence shows that there was some form of forest cover in the form of Pseudolarix conifers, with some hypothetical Baikalophyllum cycads and reedy plants thrown in the mix (known from similar localities in China and Russia).

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References:

Pott, C., McLoughlin, S., Lindström, A., Wu Shunqing, & Friis, E.M., 2012. "Baikalophyllum lobatum and Rehezamites anisolobus: two seed plants with “cycadophyte” foliage from the Early Cretaceous of eastern Asia." International Journal of Plant Sciences 173, 192–208.

Gradzinski, Ryszard. 1969. "SEDIMENTATION OF DINOSAUR-BEARING UPPER CRETACEOUS DEPOSITS OF THE NEMEGT BASIN, GOBI DESERT." Palaeontologia Polonica, No. 21, 148-223.

Okada, H. Cretaceous Environments of Asia (Developments in Palaeontology and Stratigraphy). Mateer, N.J. Elsevier Science, April 2000.





Archosaurs and Automata Update

2012-11-19T23:57:30.045-08:00

Progress report on the #ArchosaursandAutomata art show.


(image)
Conchoraptor progress...

The Indiegogo campaign for the upcoming "Archosaurs and Automata"art show is over, and while we only made 60% of our goal, Scott and I are still looking forward to putting up one awesome art show this January!

After talking with Jaime Headden of "The Bite Stuff" blog and showing him my progress so far on the Conchoraptor, I received some very helpful advice and pointers on the anatomy of this very strange theropod. I've also begun work on the poor, helpless creature in her claws - a hypothetical freshwater hermit crab that has taken up residence in the shell of an ammonite (like this guy).



Meet the "Clockwork Carnivore"

2012-11-20T10:43:46.179-08:00

Scott Elyard just finished the show mascot, "Clockwork Carnivore", and it looks totally awesome.



I would like to add that all contributors to the Archosaurs and Automata IndieGoGo campaign who donate $50 or more will receive a "Clockwork Carnivore" t-shirt, with the above design on the front, and the show information on the back printed underneath. We will also have t-shirts available at the show itself for all the local fans.

Thank you to all the gracious contributors so far - we're 1/4 of the way funded!




Geminiraptor and IndieGoGo Updates

2012-09-19T16:55:03.917-07:00

#10oclockart PM edition - Some quick updates.

(image)
Geminiraptor progress...

Geminiraptor: As you may have noticed, I've been taken prisoner by the curly feathers on the neck. I think I used a French curve once or twice, but mostly the curves are all done freehand. I also worked on my proportions. Since Geminiraptor is estimated to be among the largest and oldest of the North American Troodon species, I gave it a more robust body style than some of its more derived cousins. I also added a more realistic moon and tried cambering it to look like the moon in Utah's sky.



(image)
...and a mechanical archosaur for the
Indiegogo campaign. Art by Scott Elyard.

Archosaurs & Automata IndieGoGo Campaign - Wow! We're nearly a quarter of the way there, and it's been less than a week. Scott Elyard has been working on a mascot and t-shirt design for the show, called "Clockwork Carnivore". It's a mechanical Euparkeria and it's stone-cold awesome. You can see a rough draft of it on the campaign website.




Archosaurs & Automata Art Show IndieGoGo Campaign

2012-09-13T09:40:31.132-07:00

Hello, dear readers! Scott Elyard and I have been working on a follow-up show to our successful "Dinosaurs and Robots" exhibition last October, to be held at the same venue (Modern Dwellers Chocolate Lounge in midtown Anchorage) entitled "Archosaurs and Automata". Some of the works in progress you see on my previous blog posts will be displayed at the show, as well as some other pictures that Scott and I are working on.

However, being that we moved not too long after the original "D&R" show from Anchorage, to Homer, AK, which is 250 miles to the south, things are a bit more complicated. That's why we've put together an IndieGoGo campaign to help pay for travel expenses, materials, and printing costs.

(image)
Click here to donate to our show!
For your contribution, we are offering several levels of perks - from "hey, I found this fiver in my blazer I wore at my brother's bar mitzvah", to "Holy cow, you must _really_ like dinosaurs." Everyone who contributes, regardless of amount, will be honored at our show on a list of donors, and will also receive a hand-written "Thank You" postcard from Scott and myself.

This is our first attempt at this crowdsourcing thingy, and regardless of whether or not we reach our $1000 goal, all proceeds go towards making the show a reality.



Conchoraptor Close to Completion!

2012-09-19T16:55:48.327-07:00

#10oclockart PM edition - well, at least the main part of the image is almost complete.



Blocked in the baby and the crab the mother Conchoraptor is holding. Finished the sky and background, but I still have a ton of work to do - all of the Dinosaur Zodiac images will be placed in an art nouveau style "inset", complete with flourishes and the Zodiac sign and dates.



Dino Zodiac and Other Project Updates

2012-09-19T16:59:41.937-07:00

#10oclockart PM edition - Conchoraptor progress.



Getting back to the Dino Zodiac project, as well as getting started on some exciting upcoming stuff, including a First Friday art show for the month of January at Modern Dwellers Chocolate Lounge in Anchorage, AK with myself and Scott Elyard. More on that soon.

In the meantime, I have changed out some designs and added some new items at my CafePress store (for real this time!), including a queen-size Troodon in the Rushes duvet cover.



Moonlight Huntress (Updated 11 Sept 2012)

2012-09-19T17:00:30.754-07:00

#10oclockart PM edition - I finished the tyrannosaurus and triceratops painting for my friend's granddaugter.



The female tyrant in the foreground is based almost entirely off the "sitting t-rex" mount showcased during the 2011 Dinosaur Expo at the Natural Science Museum in Tokyo and was referenced from photographs on Wikipedia. Triceratops was actually recycled from a 2008 pen and pencil drawing, which I updated with a thicker tail and quills.

If you are interested in purchasing prints or other gifts with this design, please visit my DeviantArt and CafePress pages.

Hat tip to Jack Horner - "scavenger-style" tyrants seem to get no love from the paleo-art community, and while I don't agree that rexes were obligate scavengers, I doubt they would turn their nose up at a free meal.

UPDATE: I can't leave well enough alone - I fixed some things that were bugging me about the foreground, added some detail to the moon, and some moonlit details on the 'trike.

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References:

1.  Tomoaki, Inaba. August 28, 2011. Wikipedia - File:Tyrannosaurus resting pose.jpg  [July 10, 2012]

2.  Xu, X.; Wang, K.; Zhang, K.; Ma, Q.; Xing, L.; Sullivan, C.; Hu, D.; Cheng, S. et al. (2012). "A gigantic feathered dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous of China." Nature 484: 92–95.

3. Horner, John R. and Lessem, Don. Simon & Schuster (1993). The Complete T. rex – How Stunning New Discoveries Are Changing Our Understanding of the World’s Most Famous Dinosaur.



Female Tyrant

2012-09-19T16:59:41.909-07:00

In the middle of all the other stuff I've made for myself to do, I'm working on a present for a friend of mine's granddaughter, whose favorite dinosaurs happen to be Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops.

This is one of the two that will be in the scene - a brooding female. I'm fascinated by the concept of large feathered theropods, and since the discovery of Yutyrannus, I've been itching to do one of my own. Based loosely off a marabou stork.





Conchoraptor Face Detail

2012-09-19T16:59:41.906-07:00

#10oclockart PM entry - details of the folds and wrinkles on Conchoraptor. I think I finally have that weird facial anatomy figured out...






Why I Love Digital Paint

2012-07-12T20:37:22.039-07:00

#10oclockart early PM entry - This is why I love doing artwork in the digital age.


(image)
Before...
The face of this Conchoraptor looks more like a parrot than an oviraptorid - something I didn't pick up on until I started working in the wrinkles and folds in the skin. Back in my pen and ink days, this would have resulted in much wailing and cursing as I accidentally erased bits I didn't mean to, or the bits I wanted to erase wouldn't completely disappear after several attempts, or I tear the page because I erased one too many times in the same spot.

(image)
...and after!
Now, thanks to the power of digital paint (and the internet, which pointed me to delicious oviraptor skeletal reference by Jamie A. Headden), there will be no more hair-pulling or wailing while walking widdershins around my apartment. I just selected the offending "jawline", wrinkles and all, and moved it up for a more proper oviraptor profile. This is still amazing to me.



Dinosaur Zodiac - Cancer

2012-07-07T00:26:19.145-07:00

#10oclockart entry - Conchoraptor with a crab. 


Taking a little break from Geminiraptor and getting a jump on Cancer. I'm thinking "budgie-come-seabird" in purples, yellowish-greens, and blues on this one.



Geminiraptor Face Detail

2012-09-19T17:03:46.769-07:00

#10oclockart - PM edition. A close-up look at the facial detail of Geminiraptor.



Since it's only known from a partial maxilla, I had to "guess" at some features of its anatomy.



Geminiraptor update - Dinosaur Zodiac Project

2012-09-19T17:04:32.168-07:00

#10oclockart PM edition - Progress on my Gemini painting for the Dinosaur Zodiac project.


Since Gemini is an "air sign," I thought about putting two dragonflies in the scene somewhere, but I'm not sure if I should make them being eaten by the 'raptors, or just flying in the background somewhere...




Dinosaur Zodiac Project - Gemini

2012-09-19T16:59:41.956-07:00

#10oclockart PM edition (7 hours early) - Geminiraptor. I already pretty much knew what I wanted to do with this one, so I started the layout and general masses of color.





Dinosaur Zodiac Color Sketches

2012-09-19T16:59:41.942-07:00

#10oclockart PM edition. First post in awhile - I suffer from "AADD," or "artistic attention deficit disorder." I've decided to start a new project in the middle of all my others involving theropods and the signs of the Zodiac. Here are some preliminary color sketches:

(image)
Starting from top left - Aries (represented by Achillobator); Taurus (with Carnotaurus); Gemini (Geminiraptor); Cancer (Conchoraptors and crab); Leo (Tyrannosaurus rex); Virgo (Alectrosaurus or "unmarried lizard"); Libra (Gorgosaurus libratus); Scorpio (Skorpiovenator); Sagittarius (Sinovenator); Capricorn (Ceratosaurus); Aquarius (Pelecanimimus); Pisces (Ichthyovenator).



New Items at my CafePress store!

2012-03-27T00:52:49.802-07:00

I've included hoodies, changed out some designs, and added the Pachyrhinosaurus size chart design on some items. Visit and see what's new!