Paintings of Ice Age & Other Animals by Jessica Maring
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Paintings of Ice Age & Other Animals
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My playful paintings of Ice Age animals are inspired by the paleolithic art our ancestors
left on the walls of the caves at Lascaux and Chauvet, in France, and Altimura, in
Spain, between 15,000 and 30,000 years ago. Rendered by many artists with varying
degrees of skill, the images in the caves open a window on a world long past, show
us creatures now extinct, and reveal the intelligence and humor of the artists.
Scientists, speculate endlessly as to the reasons ancient peoples created art: perhaps
as part of ceremonies uniting them in harmony with their world, perhaps to magically
invoke a successful hunt, or perhaps-–just perhaps-–because painting is fun!
This painting of an Ice Age mare and her colt running side by side, is one in a series
of paintings based on the horses painted thousands of years ago on the walls of caves
in France, such as the Striped Mare and the Yellow Mare of Lascaux (photo to right).
The inspiration for this fine fellow came from a photo of a lion I took at the San
Francisco Zoo. I don’t know his real name (and I doubt anyone else does either–cats
never tell their real names), but “Leo Content” seems to describe him perfectly.
All the paintings in the Ice Age & Other Animals collection are done on a ground
of heavy texture
--a modeling paste, or artists’s plaster intended for that purpose.
The animals are painted with alternating layers of drybrushing and glazing. It’s
the glazing that gives these paintings their depth and luminosity.
The backgrounds are thin washes of desert colors, and metallic gold.
“Heading for Golden Pastures”,
Acrylic on Canvas, 30” x 40”
An acrylic painting of an Ice Age mare and colt
“Leo Content”, Acrylic on Canvas, 16” x 20”
An acrylic painting of a contented lion
In this little triptych of Ice Age horse paintings, I focused on interpretting the
whimsy and playfulness that I see in some of the ancient cave art. Each of these
little mares is enjoying her day in the sun.
“Impressions of Lascaux”, a triptych,
Acrylic on Canvas, each 8” x 10”
A trio of paintings of Ice Age mares
Panthera Leo Atrox is the American lion which populated North America during the
Ice Age. Though extinct for roughly 10,000 years, much is known about his appearance
due to the many whole-animal fossils almost perfectly preserved in the La Brea tar
pits in Los Angeles. He was descended from the cave lion, but looked more like the
modern lion, although much larger. To the right is a photo of Paleolithic cave art
from Chauvet showing a herd of lionesses on the hunt.
This painting of antelope battling was inspired, in part, by the cave art of Ice
Age deer and other herbivores at Lascaux and Chauvet, and by time spent watching
impalas at a wild animal park. It was also influenced by the elegant antelope fresco
This image of prehistoric antelope was inspired by the cave art of Ice Age deer and
other herbivores at Lascaux and Chauvet, and influenced by the graceful antelope
fresco (photo to right) from the Minoan culture, unearthed at Akrotiri, a bronze
age city on Thera, an Aegean island. The creatures of the Minoan fresco are recognizably
antelope, but I love the artist’s exaggeration of the curves, making the image seem
Based on the Yellow Mare of Lascaux, which was painted on the wall of a cave in France
by an artist thousands of years ago (photo to right), here is the pride of the herd,
the alpha mare, kickin’ up her heels and struttin’ her stuff.
Influenced by the Striped Mare of Lascaux (photo to right), here is the happiest
of horses, kicking up her heels in some long ago meadow.
Although we tend to think of the buffalo as a North American animal, thousands of
his ancestors once populated Europe.
A take-off on the horses in the Paleolithic paintings on cave walls at Lascaux and
Pech Merle in France, the real inspiration for this piece was Goldy, a mare whose
former owner assured me she was a fine jumper, and who displayed this unique approach
to jumping fences. The part that isn’t in the painting is the rider, me, who has
been flung off over her head, and has “jumped” the fence sans horse.
The colors and spots of this horse were inspired by the Paleolithic paintings of
Ice Age mares on the walls of caves at Lascaux and Pech Merle, but the attitude is
modern and eternal, and reminiscent of a horse named Goldy who used to own me.
This pose was a favorite of a horse named Goldy who would do just about anything
to avoid being caught when out in a pasture of sweet long grass.
“Friend or foe?” this mother bear asks as she peers at us. One can be a looooong
ways away, watching safely thru binoculars, and it still kicks off an adrenalin rush
when that big head comes up, swings back and forth tasting the wind, and then stops.
Zeroed in on us.
Intent on his own business, this guy has places to go, people to see and things to
do that probably have nothing to do with us, unless, of course, we’re carrying a
Bears appear in the art of many ancient peoples. The photo above right is of a
painting done about 30,000 years ago on the walls of the caves at Chauvet, France.
The photo to the immediate right is a petroglyph bear near Moab, Utah, attributed
to Native Americans, drawn sometime within the last thousand years.
This whimsical horse in copper verdegris takes its inspiration from several sources:
the horse as it appears in numerous Renaissance paintings (the photo to the right
is of a woodcut by Hans Baldung Grien in 1534), and various horses in Paleolithic
I had so much
fun painting the
first version of
that I decided
to do another.
These playful little horses are inspired by the Striped and Yellow mares of Lascaux.
A young horse, trotting on some prehistoric savannah, inspired by the ancient paintings
of Ice Age horses in the cave at Lascaux.
This painting depicts the ancient enmity between horse and snake.
I lived on a horse ranch for a while when I was in my teens, and because one of my
favorite memories is of watching the mares and their babies–the little ones running
right along side their mothers like they were stuck there by glue–I’ve done several
mare-and-colt paintings. These are the 2nd and 3rd.
“Panthera Leo”, Acrylic on Canvas, 24” x 36”
An acrylic painting of the Ice Age North American Lion
“Battle”, Acrylic on Canvas, 24” x 36”
An acrylic painting of battling Ice Age antelope
“Ice Age Antelope”, Acrylic on Canvas, 20” x 16”
An acrylic painting of a pair of Ice Age antelope
“Steppin’ Out”, Acrylic on Canvas, 20” x 24”
An acrylic painting of a prancing Ice Age mare
“Paleohorse III”, Acrylic on Canvas, 24” x 30”
An acrylic painting of a bucking Ice Age horse
“Ice Age Bison”, Acrylic on Canvas, 16” x 20”
An acrylic painting of an Ice Age bison
The paintings of Ice Age bison in the caves at Lascaux, France (photo upper right)
and Altamira, Spain (photo to right) served as inspiration for my portraits of this
“Ice Age Bison II”, Acrylic on Canvas, 16” x 20”
An acrylic painting of an Ice Age buffalo
“Twister”, Acrylic on Canvas, 10” x 8”
An acrylic painting of an bucking horse
“Aint Goin’ There”, Acrylic on Canvas, 8” x 10”
An acrylic painting of an mulishly stubborn horse
“Rock N’ Roll”, Acrylic on Canvas, 8” x 10”
An acrylic painting of an horse rolling on its back
“Three Bears”, Acrylic on Canvas, 8” x 10”
An acrylic painting of a mother bear and two cubs
“Intent”, Acrylic on Canvas, 8” x 10”
An acrylic painting of a bear out for a stroll
“Here’s Lookin’ at You”, Acrylic on Canvas, 8” x 10”
An acrylic painting of a bear looking for trouble
“Blue Boy”, Acrylic on Canvas, 9” x 12”
An acrylic painting of a Renaissance horse
“Out For A Run”, Acrylic on Canvas, 16” x 20”
An acrylic painting of a galloping mare and her colt
“Morning Run”, Acrylic on Canvas, 24” x 36”
An acrylic painting of a galloping mare and her colt
“Variations on Impressions of Lascaux”, a triptych,