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 Black-Headed Python & Bearded Dragon (1994)

Acrylic on illustration board
16" x 24"
 This painting was commissioned for the cover of the book "Pythons of Australia" by Brian Kend, and depicts a black-headed python (Aspidites melanocephalus), one of two members of an endemic Australian python genus that specializes in feeding on snakes and lizards such as the bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps), being constricted here. The black-headed python is a nocturnal species that spends the daytime in subterranean burrows, often inside of termite mounds. Bearded dragons are native to the eastern Australian interior, where they are often seen basking on fenceposts and small trees. Omnivorous eaters, they are especially fond of flowers and have become very popular staples of the pet trade. The ranges of these two reptile species overlap in a small area of central Queensland and Northern Territory, and it is this region that I have tried to typify in my invented landscape. After trying various compositions, herpetoogist Louis Porras suggested a horizontal "wraparound" design for the book. In the background is a group of red kangaroos (Macropus rufus) which were put there to allay any doubt as to the location. The little flowering plant is Senecio gregorii.