Shelby Prindaville’s Anole Artwork

Watercolor drawing by Shelby Prindaville

Shelby Prindaville, Polychrotidae (Heatstack) detail, watercolor and pencil on paper, 30×22″, 2011

My watercolor drawings and figurative sculptures feature a variety of Anolis lizards.  The visually fascinating characteristics of anoles combined with their small size yet reptilian “otherness” (occupying a middle ground between too-easily-anthropomorphized mammals and too-alien fish or invertebrates) make anoles an ideal animal representative for my broader ecological interests.

Watercolor drawing by Shelby Prindaville

Shelby Prindaville, Anolis proboscis (Pair), watercolor, 3P art medium, and pencil on translucent paper, 16×24″, 2012

The drawings and sculptures I create with anoles use their innate character and abilities to explore a purgatorial space. The first drawing in the watercolor series puts anoles in place of rats in the rat king myth made famous in The Nutcracker; the use of anoles allows a way out of the diseased mass through voluntary autotomy and allegorically demonstrates that repairing environments requires sacrifice. Other drawings pull from subjects ranging from the Ouroboros to Terry Pratchett’s allegory of summer.

Watercolor drawing by Shelby Prindaville

Shelby Prindaville, Anolis carolinensis and Mimosa Pudica (Falling), watercolor and pencil on velvet paper, 27×19″, 2012

My desire to sculpt small yet still anatomically accurate anoles has actually led to the development of a new polymer medium: 3P QuickCure Clay.  I collaborate with LSU Chemistry Professor John Pojman and his company 3P, and my suggestion to create a clay and its subsequent development has allowed me to use a batch-curing process that achieves the intricately detailed results below.

Sculpture by Shelby Prindaville

Shelby Prindaville, Polychrotidae (Dive and Climb), 3P Clay, 4x8x2.5″, 2012

To see larger images or more of my artwork, please visit shelbyprindaville.com.

10 thoughts on “Shelby Prindaville’s Anole Artwork

  1. I wonder if you can speak more about the 3P QuickCure Clay. A lot of Anolis biologists make clay models of lizards and try to assess possible predator marks on them. The plasticine clay we typically use has its benefits and its downfalls. How is this new polymer different? It might be an interesting material to try out for experiments.

    1. I mentioned this discussion to Professor John Pojman, so you can ask him about it too (see below).

      But from an artist’s perspective, this medium is able to achieve strength and height even in small quantities – something that I haven’t seen before. It has approximately the consistency of standard clay (though given its composition, latex gloves should be worn for skin protection – much like when working with plaster). It also stays workable even when left out in the open for an extended period of time until you are ready to cure it. I mold it using very small quantities of household vegetable oil as a smoothing/non-sticking agent (like you’d use water with normal clay).

      Because it doesn’t stick to metal, if you had something you wanted to cast you could wrap it with thin aluminum and then cast it and pull the aluminum back out. I use aluminum foil to create underlying structures that support an unfired tail, say, and then cure the tail and take the aluminum out and suddenly I have a hard tail that floats into the air. You can cure it in parts, so I can make a tail, and cure it, and then connect the hard tail to an unfired soft body and cure the body and it will all become one piece.

      John can tell you the exact details, but I use an embossing heat gun to cure it. I know he has said a hairdryer isn’t hot enough, but a torch is overkill.

  2. I am the developer of 3P QuickCure Clay (3P = Pojman Polymer Products). It has the consistency of plasticine but can be “cured on demand” by heating with a heat gun. It reacts rapidly without significant change in shape.

    Do you want to cast a live anole? I am not sure how will work will work because the medium will stick to the lizard unless it is coated with mineral oil or vegetable oil. I’ll be happy to provide samples to anyone who is interested.


      1. Yoel,
        No, sun exposure would not be hot enough. The clay has to be heated to about 100 ˚C to start the chemical reaction. It might be possible to add a photo initiator to make it start polymerizing when exposed to the UV light of the sun.


  3. Hi John,
    I think the high melting point is the key here. That might actually be really useful as many of our models tend to melt and obscure predation bites. Many of us have rubber molds of lizards that we use to cast clay models.

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