A while back, when I was working for Hall Train, we were discussing what palaeontological art was all about (as we often did), and he said that the game was to make the animals as real as possible, indistinguishable from the real thing if possible. I nodded my agreement, even though I suspect we both thought, well, that's what we're doing now
, but it surely isn't the game
Now I'm convinced that it's not. None of my favourite artists produce things that look real, most a highly stylised. Greg Paul's dinosaurs with their crisp-clear anatomy, for example. His animals don't look real
, they are better
The question remains, what is the game? Few palaeographers communicate a clear notion about what they are trying to achieve, which suggests to me that they don't know. I don't. I have got as far as thinking that reality isn't what I'm after.
The problem is that palaeontological art has no underlying theory. Perhaps the first step to having a theory is to recognise that a replication of reality x-millions of years ago isn't what any of us are trying to do. It might very well be part of it, but it's not the