Thursday, June 26, 2008
On exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum is an original oil painting done for the book, "The Island that Moved."
"The Island that Moved" is one of several books I have illustrated about Antarctica. This one shows the different climates and various states the continent went through during the last 200 million years. It teaches plate tectonics to young people, and taught me a great deal in the process of researching the pictures. I had to find out what plants, animals, and conditions existed there at various times of prehistory, and what Antarctica must have looked like. What an extensive project that was! I consulted science journals and several Antarctic paleontologists who were all so forthcoming. I visited Dr. Bill Hammer, in Illinois, who had discovered, in the Transantarctic Mountains, the only known specimen of "Cryolophosaurus," a giant predator related to T-rex. Its name means "Frozen crested lizard." Dr. Hammer had the skeleton there I could sketch for reference. It is always a joy to work with scientists so passionate about their subjects. I find that science and art are similar in that they both require thought and interpretation in their inquiries into our complex world. Perceptions vary, and neither the artist nor the scientist lives in an absolute world.