Mystery Animal Painting!

Long story very short the below was posted in one of my scribes groups looking for submissions for the Triskele Turn-in Trial. A segment in the newsletter from the SCA Kingdom of Trimaris.

This Mystery Animal

“…is a shaped like a lizard, but is covered with spots. It is so cold that it puts out fire on contact. It vomits from its mouth a milky liquid; if this liquid touches any part of the human body it causes all the hair to fall off, and the skin to change color and break out in a rash. It is fatal to drink water or wine when a….has died in it, as is drinking from a vessel from which the creature has drunk.” – Pliny the Elder, 1st Century CE

“The….. alone of animals puts out fires; it can live in fire without pain and without being burned. Of all the venomous animals its strength is the greatest because it kills many at once. If it crawls into a tree it poisons all of the fruit, and anyone who eats the fruit will die; if it falls in a well it poisons the water so that any who drink it die.” – Isidore of Seville, 7th Century CE

I managed to miss the deadline to send in an entry but the idea rolled about in my head begging to be finished.

When I read the description I felt like a salamander may be the answer. (And no I didn’t google it!) Mostly because my mother and I had been talking about them as my grandmother’s house has one that had taken residence in her well tunnel. They had also been abundant this year and my mother had sent me any pictures of them as she and her sister had found some of the cute orange ones when camping.

Check this little guy out!

Of course, I needed to add a rabbit and a tree to show the poisoned fruit. I may have also done some design work to figure out how to draw and not draw a salamander. My first sketch was rather large but I managed to work it down to an art trading card. I also took the chance to use the pearl watercolor I had picked up to give him an icy breath.

The final product!

So was I right? Yes! I did have to google the answer as I don’t receive the newsletter and the website as of posting this had a bunny problem and was down. But you can read here the full description and see some actual examples of period art.

I am very excited because shortly after another similar challenge was posted so expect some more mystery animal pieces!

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