04 February 2013

Black Tail Rattlesnake & Orry Martin

First feather I've painted in a LONG time.  While stalking around Facebook, I came across Orry Martin: Texas Snake Hunter.  Do you know how difficult it is to find excellent reference images for snakes?  I know there is a lot of fear surrounding them, but I've never seen so many blurred photos from a distance than when trying to look for snakes.  There's also a large amount of images where they are striking or stretching...which is just unappealing as a painting.  I was excited for several reasons as I was looking over his page, the first being that he had tons of beautiful photos from a lot of venomous species.

The second is that he is taking on a huge mission to stop the way rattlesnake round ups are done.  I will be the first to say I have a love for snakes.  I have two at home, and have little issue picking up the non-venomous ones outside.  But these round ups catch a large number of rattlesnakes, rip their fangs out, stitch their mouth shut, and then use them for sick entertainment.  Below is an important video on why these are something to be stopped made by Orry in his quest to spread the word.

 So Orry is having a fundraiser for a round up where no wild snakes are harmed!  Why is this important? Other than the fact they are absolutely amazing animals, they are a vital part to nature.  You don't have to like them, but there's no denying how they help keep nature in balance just by what their diet consists of.  He's even having giveaway's on his Facebook page (link is above) every month as he tries to raise the funds to be able to do this.

 After getting over my excitement, I sent an inquiry as to using his lovely photos as future reference images for my work.  I hadn't painted in a while, but I thought this would be the perfect inspiration.

I quickly got the go-ahead and compliments on my work.  There was a half-joking comment made about a free sample, and while I don't normally do that kind of thing, I figured this is a wonderful cause and anything I could do to help get the word out and support is well worth it.

So I chose a headshot of a Northern Blacktail Rattlesnake, dusted off my brushes (metaphorically, I promise they are actually well taken care of) and went to work.

Snakes are a bit difficult to get right because of the number of scales, I can't just smoosh paint and hope it works out alright.  But I feel it turned out beautifully!  I'm looking forward to sharing more in the future!  In the mean time...go check out those links above and help support Orry Martin and the rattlesnakes!

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