Pronghorns (Antilocapra americana) 8” x 10” - Part 1 of a series featuring ungulate species where both the male and female have cranial ornamentation.
Trying out acrylic & coloured pencil together. I like how you can layer colour and get some fine details but I can’t get it to scan well.
Pronghorns are my favourite ungulate, hands down. They aren’t deer or antelope; they’re the lone surviving species from a genus that populated North America before the last Ice Age. They out-lived their cheetah-like predators too, and are now the second fastest terrestrial animal on the planet. Their horns are unique as well: they shed the outer sheath once a year like antlers but retain a bony core year-round.
Next up: caribou!
The Tree Burial
When I was a boy I went camping in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State. Myself and three other boys were learning to rappel like loggers. We used ropes and boots fitted with logger’s spikes. We wandered deep into the old growth rain forest looking for northern pine or cedars to climb. This bit of forest was some of the only forest in the region that had never been logged. Some of these old cedars were as big around at the base as a small house.
My friend Tommy spotted what he thought was an abandoned eagle’s nest high up in one of these old trees so we decided to check it out. From the ground all we could see was a kind of platform made from dried sticks. As we climbed we made out what looked like bits of red cloth. When we got up to the top we were stunned to see the mummified body of a Native American woman. She still had the tattered remains of a red trade blanket around her and a beaded necklace with a stone turtle around her withered neck and a bracelet of some kind of gold metal.
It looked as though at one time the grave platform had been covered with a brush awing to keep the rain off but it had fallen down and exposed the corpse. We discussed what to do. A couple of the guys wanted to bring her down and show her off or at least take the jewelry. Tommy and I objected. We refused to let her burial be desecrated. Instead we rebuilt the awning and covered her so she could not be seen from the ground. As we climbed down a raven flew in and settled down on a branch just above her and watched us as we climbed down. He was still there when we left.