Anasazisaurus, Bistahioversor, Deinosuchus & Muzquizopteryx

Well, it's taken me over a year to complete, but I promised myself (and those closest to me) that I would finish my Late Cretaceous river scene by the end of 2017 and finally, against all odds, I've actually made it over the finish line! Just in the nick of time too.

Copyright A V S Turner 2017
So, why the delay? Well, this past year has been extraordinarily busy for me both professionally and personally. As well as updating my Fin whale animation for Cambridge museum of zoology, I have also completed three extensive projects for Liverpool John Moores university, which sadly I have not been able to publish this year as the projects have yet to be released. This has had two unfortunate consequences: firstly that my blog has looked sadly thin on the ground for most of the year and secondly that this large-scale portfolio project has had to take a back seat for several months.

Now that it's finally finished I have to admit  I'm not entirely happy with it: there are some details that I would like to change and the shading has gone a little "muddy" here and there, plus in my efforts to galvanise my interest in the piece again after weeks of absence, I flattened a lot of layers prematurely in order to force myself to loosen up and get back in the game. This is a trick that works well, but carries with it certain risks; most notably that it makes it hard to solve depth-sorting issues later in the process. 

But overall I'm very pleased with the result. This has been one of the biggest and most complex compositions that I've ever wrestled with and I'm inclined to say that in the end I came out on top. Every time I paint a body of water I learn new lessons about the physics of the medium and how it effects the things around it, on it and passing through it. 
Every painting is a lesson: truthfully I have never completed a painting and been able to say that I was completely happy with the result, but that's why we keep doing what we do. Without that desire for improvement, we could never progress. So whatever your subject, if you love what you do then keep going and push through, even when it feels like you're banging your head against a brick wall! The rewards will be great and you'll learn far more from your mistakes than your victories (at least that's what I keep telling myself!)

I don't know when I'll attempt another large-scale scenic illustration like this again, but I'm looking forward to applying lessons learned from this experience and hopefully enjoying a much quicker turnaround next time.

Happy 2018 everyone...


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