Ok, Here are my first few studies of an elephant. One thing I am always reminded of, when doing stuff like this, is that what I learn from the experience goes so much deeper than what is revealed in the sketch.
I spent a few hours sketching elephants at the zoo yesterday. It’s a challenge studying a moving object but I am learning a lot and beginning to understand their anatomy a bit. Hopefully I will be able to get close to an elephant before I begin painting so that I can move with the elephant and get sufficient time studying specific details. Yesterday, I would draw two or three lines in for the head then look up from my paper to find the elephants butt square in my view.
I am not aware of any paintings of elephants done in the 16th century, but the subject of this piece was one I wanted to paint long before the birth of this project. I think that it’s a good fit for this project partly because it involved a large animal and, in my opinion, it actually presents more problems than a subject involving a safe domesticated animal like a horse (a common renaissance subject).
I have begun “The Renaissance Project”. To learn more about it click on the link on the right side of the page. I built a very simple oil press in order to test a key piece that I designed (the metal portion below). This piece will be part of a larger, more efficient press that I also designed (below). We (my assistant Morgan and I) were able to produce about two tablespoons of walnut oil. Now that we know it works I will begin building the more sophisticated press.