Tuesday, March 29, 2011

An Acute Arboreal Affliction

In light of the recent works completed for my science illustration classes, it is safe to say that I have developed an interest in the world held high up in the treetops. In a life devoted to swinging through the canopy, furry mammals have adapted quite beautifully to such lofty lifestyles. Maybe I am jealous of their tree climbing prowess. Or perhaps I am just smitten with the idea of going out on a limb, taking a leap, and reaching for your dreams? The world may never know.*

SLOTH: A Deadly Sin? Or Synonym for Deadly?

The three-toed sloth. An arboreal stealth creature that ever so slowly creeps through dense forest foliage. Lurking. Waiting. Watching.

"Slow Twitchin': The Saga of the Sloth." Bradypus variegatus. 2011. Scratchboard.

Don't be fooled by this agile beast; it may grow moss in its fur but this is only to help it secure its title as one of the jungle's most dangerous leaf assassins. The chlorophyll-filled canopy is made all the more perilous by the peerless peresozo. These sleeper cells spend their days sleeping and silently stalking cellulose stalks: ever so patiently sneaking up on their leafy prey before cramming clawfuls of the unsuspecting Cecropiaceae into their gaping maw.

ORANGUTANGO: Dance of the Gods

Behold the rhythmic swaying of the branches, the tender touch when paw meets vine, the gentle swishing of leaves and breaking of branches as hundreds of pounds of primate crash through canopy. It can signal nothing other than the sweet music and dance of the Orangutango.

"OranguTangled: Monkeying Around On High." Pongo pygmaeus. 2011. Watercolor on board.

The Red Ape of Indonesia holds a near and dear place in my heart, with her curved phalanges, bright shock of hair, and the air of indifference as she sails through the air with greatest of ease. This smart simian knows where life's at: living on an island nation in the balmy South Pacific in one of the last great rainforests still complete with its own elephants, rhinos, and even the occasional tiger. Talk about living life on the edge! But it certainly helps to gain some perspective on prospective predators by hanging out up near the sky. Tangled vines and gnarled bark prove no match for this ape's lanky limbs and opposable digits on both hands and feet. Who needs a prehensile tail when you can open fruit with your feet?

*Does the world know that it is an oyster? Let alone that it is your oyster? It's quite the bipolar bivalve, that Earth is.