While I still haven't formally heard from Dr. Fordyce about the publication of his Squalodon (and honestly if he still wants me to do the art for it), I am satisfied that my 2.5 year re approach is now up to professional standards.
In fact of ANY piece I've done I think this one could be a contender among professional palaeo-art works. Not that I'm saying it is the greatest piece of all time, but just that this could be entered into that kind of level and not be outright rejected...
Here she is the 2012 version of the Squalodon. A rather energy packed piece, grabbing the final moment before a poor Oligocene penguin meets its fate. I'm very proud of the almost haphazard nature of the composition. It's like I was diving 25 million years ago and managed to snap this with my camera in the heat of the moment (which I've always wanted to get my art to look like).
This was my first test render of the new underwater lighting rig I'd built, and I knew I'd accidentally found my winning pose and rough composition right off the bat. Apart from the Squalie looking like it's gone crazy attacking thin water, I could have called this a final (thus why I'm showing it with the final piece).
For a point of comparison here is the 2009 "final" I showed Dr. Fordyce, and I can see why he was not 100% enthused about it at the time. Yet good to my word I told him this was just a concept piece, and that given some more time I could fire off something way better...
Thoughts comments? The penguins are the only thing that might need tweaking, but I think they almost work (I am aware they're not AS strong as the whale). What do you think?
A big thank you to Dave and Matt for pushing me on my lighting. This piece wouldn't have materialized without that constant inspiration to improve!