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 Coast Horned Lizard (1998)

Acrylic on illustration board
20" x 30"
 This piece was designed to look as austere as the Mojave desert that it depicts. The subject, a coast horned lizard (Phrynosoma coronatum) is centered on the board with very simple arcking lines, eating honey ants (Myrmecocystus sp.), ants being the usual horned lizard fare. A total of fourteen species of horned lizards populate most of western North America, from southern British Columbia to Guatemala. They are a pretty uniform lot, small lizards (the giant among them a Mexican brute of eight inches), flattened and covered with spines. The species depicted and one other have the ability to squirt a potential predator with blood issued from the corner of their eye. This capacity has been reported for over a century in popular lore and has been doubted by many and only recently conclusively confirmed. In this painting the subjects were drawn about twice life-size, something I've rarely tried before.