This piece started out with very simple beginnings, I had an idea for a brush set of different foliage bits, the only one I actually did was a couple of spanish moss brushes... thinking of a reason to use the brushes (which came out very nice) the idea to do a scene in a swamp with a skunk-ape popped into my head. The end result is this piece, and ironically I only ended up using the brushes in question on a smaller scale in the background.
Non-Floridians may not have heard of the skunk apes, I myself hadn't heard about them until I had lived down here full-time for a few years. My introduction to the legend came about when a co-worker found out I had done the FX on a couple of low-budget movies, and he started tellin' me about his idea for a movie; a horror flick featuring a skunk ape as the antagonist. I thought he was making it up so I asked him to explain exactly what a skunk ape was supposed to be; he told me some of the local legends regarding the so-called swamp-apes or skunk-apes, which are essentially a bigfoot type of cryptid that are followed by a horrible stench.
According to the Florida Park Service, skunk apes do not exist. Despite that, skunk ape sightings are reported every now and then. In 2000, a pair of photographs taken in Myakka were turned into the Sarasota County Sheriff's Department. The infamous photos can be found quickly online if you're interested, one of them is posted on the Wikipedia entry for "Skunk Ape", check it out. Sightings range from the Everglades, North to Lake Okeechobee, and even up into Georgia and Alabama, mostly occurring in swampy areas.
Since I had decided on doing a skunk ape, I naturally chose a swamp as a setting, and basically set it in an imaginary corner of the Everglades, where this particular configuration of plantlife is present; though not necessarily all in one spot. So yeah, it's kind of interpretive in this respect. This piece was both a lot of fun, and a big headache. The little details, the insects and such were a lot of fun to do, as was thinking of all the details, subtle or not. The headache came from the same details, the grasses and the sheer amount of things that had to be done to finish it. It turned into a kind of 'where's Waldo' sort of thing at some point about halfway through. There are a lot of details to notice, and it became kind of a game with myself to place a number of them in such a way as to just continually distract the viewer to notice a new spot. Hence the title of the piece, along with the fact that the skunk ape is clearly distracted with the moon.
So yeah, that's about all I have to say to explain this one
, I hope you enjoy my work!
For those of you who are interested in seeing all the stuff that is actually in this, (and because this is easier than entering all the keywords on the upload screen) I present a quick list of things to watch for. Spiders, thirteen total, good luck finding them all. One of the crab spiders is very well camouflaged, and a couple are just well hidden. If you know a bit about spider's behaviors, you should be able to find most of them. There are three different kinds of tree frogs (7 total), seven leopard frogs, and butt-load of tadpoles. In fact the water has a whole lot of stuff in it, but due to the reflections and shadows, many are hard to spot... keep an eye out for crayfish. There are six brown anoles, and one green anole (who is in a pretty obvious spot, but might take a second to notice because of its camo), and five-lined skink. Insects aplenty, from dragonflies to damselflies, mayflies, moths, black flies, a horse fly, blue and green long-legged flies, etc. ... lots of flying critters. Also in the background are a dozen bats, an owl, and a blue heron (I like to think that it was disturbed by the skunk ape plodding past, and is honking out an insult as it flies off). There are a number of other insects throughout the foliage, ants, beetles, wasps, ladybugs (and one larva), assassin bugs, cicadas, water-striders, gnats, a grasshopper, two crickets, two centipedes and some others.