Peering through the dense jungle foliage, this predator sits waiting to strike!
Living throughout South and Central America (and even the United States up until the early 20th century), the jaguar is a solitary creature that relies on ambush to catch prey in its native rainforest habitat. It has figured prominently in the mythology of many Meso-American cultures, which may have had something to do with my selection of it. More than anything, I was interested in depicting a moody piece set in a dense jungle setting, with a striking contrast of colors between the cat and its surroundings.
The fur of the jaguar was obviously a very demanding aspect of the piece. Much time was spent studying the direction and flow patterns of the hair to ensure an accurate and involving depiction. When intensely scrutinizing the appearance of these animals, it’s easy to see (yet still mystifying to grasp) how the forces of evolution have shaped creatures through natural selection. After looking at them for so long, you almost start to feel like you understand how they came to be, and how their appearance and construction allows them to thrive in their habitat.