Will Sillin

Fine Art and Illustration

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A dilophosaurus with proto-feathers emerging from a Northeastern Border Fault Jurassic lake. This image features a digital landscape with digital plants. The dilophosaurs is a clay model built on a carefully proportioned, articulated armature. A photograph of the model was edited in photoshop to include feathers. The feathers are depicted as modified, elongated scales.This image was a contribution to the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Assciations remarkable website about the 19th century discovery of the evidence of dinosaurs in New England.

Link to my 2017 Jurassic Roadshow essay, On Denizens of Deep Time, Art, and the Artist!. A big thanks to Sarah Doyle for the invitation.

 Link to a 11 minute presentation, Creating Paleoart for Dinosaur Track Exhibits I gave at the 2020 Jurassic Roadshow in which I discuss the work presented below. Thanks again to Sarah Doyle for the invitation to present and posting this recording, complete with the usual rookie Zoom misteps.

The left side of the painting shows the long view to the upper reaches of the rifted valley. The mural shows the Jurassic view from the perspective of a museum visitor standing on the spot in front of the diorama 180 million years ago. The diorama is dedicated to and named for Professor Ed Belt. Professor Belt was a great friend, patron, and mentor.

A closer view of Ceolophysis, a true Triassic dinosaur that survived the major Triassic/Jurassic extinction. A Sphenodon, held by its head, struggles for its life as it dangles from the Ceolophysis' jaws. Sphenodons have survived for 250 million years. Barely. There is 1 living species left, the Tuatara, surviving in New Zealand. The ridged back "walking tank" is an aetosaur, one of many lines of reptiles that didn't survive the end of the Triassic.

A pair of ornithopod dinosaurs navigate a mud draped river sand bar,  alert for Ceolophysis and the larger Phytosaurs. The teeth of early ornithopods suggest they had cheeks and would chew their food before swallowing.

Jurassic Morning diorama oil on wall mounted canvas, 10' x 18', Beneski Museum of Natural History, Amherst College, Amherst, MA, 2007

The diorama painting is on a u-shaped wall creating distorted perspective on the sides in this photo. There is a distortion free sweetspot about 4 feet from the diorama foreground. 

The foreground and painting show three vegetative zones. Closest to the lake are clusters of ferns (Clathropteris and Phlebopteris) and horsetails. On the lowest slopes of alluvium are thickets of Otozamites and more Phlebopteris. On the higher slopes and across the mountains are stands of conifers. The conifers are from a Mesozoic family, the Cheirolepidiacae, bearing the Pagiophyllum and Brachyphyllum foliage. Kirk Johnson, provided guidance and information on the landscape, flora and paleoecology.

This diorama was commissioned by Professor Ed Belt. Thank you Ed!

Two Anchisaurs, adult (painted) and juvenile (Gary Staub's model), are driven from the lake side across a fern meadow and into a thicket of Otozamites (looks like sumac) by 2 Dilophosaurs cruising the lake margin. Clathropteris ferns are shown in the painting and in the foreground growing in patches mixed with Equisitites. The Anchisaurs are shown as bipeds based on the tracks, Otozoum, that best match their feet. Emma Rainforth, and Paul Olsen shared their expertise on Anchisaurus .

Our first "family group shot" in front of the 10 ft x 10 ft installed section. The only time seperates this sweet family from scores of carnivorious dinosaurs. July 2018

Jurassic Rift Valley Lake Shore, acrylic on dibond, 10' x 10' installed section of a proposed 10' x 50' outdoor mural. 2018

Trustees of the Reservation, Dinosaur Footprints, Rt 5, Holyoke, MA


Using a 5 color palette the subject is painted on a 2 color airbrushed gradient background. This Jurassic landscape is mounted on a 100 foot long concrete retaining wall above a track bearing exposure of Portland Sandstone. This view, away from the border fault mountains, matches what a visitor would see in the Jurassic standing on the exposure and facing the retaining wall.

In The Late Triassic, oil on masonite, 168" x 348" 90o curved wall, 1988/1991, Dinosaur State Park, Rocky Hill, CT

The geologic and climatic setting of the Eastern Border Fault's failed rift valley as it appeared in the late Triassic, with 9 examples of fauna and 19 examples of flora depicted according to the best scientific direction available at the time of execution. For an interactive version with a hover over key visit this page (link) at Impressions of a Lost World.

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