Cave art for beginners

This morning  in art class, I attempted cave art from a civilisation where livestock such as bulls, donkeys and goats play important roles. I figure the donkeys, highly valued for transport, were also much loved as pets. For some viewers, the cave art may have a ghostly feel, while others may sense immediacy, for the donkeys surround the grand bull, his  powerful body with  tiny head,  a figure of strength.

As usual I chose quite a complex image for inspiration with shades of blue, purple, ochre, gold and white in the usual red rock. I developed my pastel creation and included more colour and figures.

I was particularly interested in the expressiveness of the hands at the base and the animals. One hand pats the beautiful donkey head. These hands, often prominent in ancient caves, reach out.

I tried to give the work atmosphere I associate with cave art.


What I learned

  1. Drawing cave animals in dry pastels is challenging
  2. I need to ensure the illustration edges are clean and clear, not doubled up. It’s difficult to put a fine edge on illustrations with charcoal and pastels/crayons.
  3. I dislike red hands as they suggest blood, but I don’t associate the hands with blood. I struggled to alter the red pastel by layering it with brown, but it is still reddish, suggesting animal sacrifice though the mood is one of treasuring these animals.
  4. Unconsciously I created original attitudes and relationships in my illustration.