© Copyright Alessandra Kelley
This is one of the rooms of skeletons in the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago (or rather it was, the space having been redesigned in the interim).
I've long been interested in the effects of colored lights, of reflections and translucency. This room, with its dimly lit lucite boxes of massive skulls and skeletons of prehistoric mammals, caught my fancy.
The painting was done in egg tempera on a black chalk gesso ground. I find the use of opaque colors on black produces a glowing effect of light in the darkness.
Charles R. Knight's magnificent murals of prehistoric life occupy the upper reaches of the walls (It was interesting to visit the American Museum of Natural History in New York and recognize huge photoprints of Chicago's own murals adorning its walls.). The visible edges of the murals depict Orohippus (tiny horse ancestors) and Stylemis (Oligocene tortoises).