Posted by Nadya on Jul 16, 2011
So I emailed the Canadian Museum of Nature for advice – and boy did I get the right museum!
Actually, my librarian friend from Canada suggested it. They put me in contact with Dr Richard Harington, the paleontologist who actually discovered the Whitestone Mammoth – a nearly complete female Woolly Mammoth specimen! Tusks and everything. He responded with some advice, recommended a book (which I already have) and sent me the story of the Whitestone Mammoth, plus an image of a sculpture that was made for the Museum, according to his advice, with the proportions from that animal. That image pretty much answered all my questions re: tusk shape, etc
So, having the statue as a reference for proportion, I’ve decided to completely revise the painting.
I’ve scrapped the front-on views, because the more I worked on those, the more the faces bugged me – something was off and I couldn’t put my finger on it. Instead I’m using another one of my own elephant photos as reference for the poses. But I think I understand better now, how to make them into mammoths.
I’m still working out their faces, but hopefully they look more like mammoths than like the elephants they are based on.
I also wanted to incorporate the Whitestone Mammoth’s broken left tusk into the image.
I’m also not sure about the pose of Mother-Mammoth’s back legs, but I’ll deal with that when I get there. The original elephant in the reference photo was standing that way – but I don’t like how it looks for the painting, so will most probably shift the legs a bit.
You can keep up with progress on this painting, on my WIP thread at WetCanvas forums.