Acrylic, 32" x 20" (81.5 x 50.5 cm).
Nova the bearded dragon approached the altar gingerly, her sacrifice offered before her in hands that trembled with excitement. Pocomoco, Great Deity of the Snail tribes, was a powerful and malevolent presence indeed. Worshipped and feared by snails, and adored by lizards, the corpulent blue-tongue skink lounged upon his throne, casting a disdainful eye about him as he brought judgment upon any hapless mollusc that dared enter his temple.
Note: Know a bit about gastropod biology? Test your skills and try to find what's so special about Nova's offering!
Background info: Unlike many Australian species, the blue-tongue skink has probably benefited from European colonisation, which heralded the introduction of the exotic garden snail, undisputedly the lizard's favourite food. Their incredibly strong jaws make crunching snail shells a breeze, and no doubt many a snail cowers in fear upon sensing the ominous slither of approaching doom.
The bearded dragon is the world's most popular pet reptile, and like the blue-tongue, also native to Australia. Both taxa are found, in multiple varieties, colours and patterns, across the country. However, captive breeding of the bearded dragon, particularly in the United States, has produced numerous colourations not present in wild populations.
This was inspired by an addition to my sisters menagerie (Nova) mixed with some influences from 1970s-80s fantasy art. Every time I visit my sister, baby Nova seems to have doubled in size. This painting is therefore a snapshot showing the relative size of the lizards in November 2009 (when I sketched them). Nova is now the larger of the two.
Pocomoco has an interesting background- he was originally rescued from bushland that was bulldozed for housing. He sustained an injury to his left eye whilst living in the wild, and is subsequently half-blind. That's why his eyes don't match in the painting. Where the description above says Pocomoco cast "a disdainful eye about him", this is the literal truth! It's a good thing he can't read- he might be insulted.