West coast lobster, or crayfish as we know them here in South Africa.
Above is a semi process exhibit of the male west coast crayfish (Jasus Lalundi) which I completed recently. I had four such pieces to do. It has been an interesting undertaking, having a closer look at almost botanical drawing/painting with a pure traditional medium. Except for a small cheat with gouche white where absolutely necisary.
I did extensive studies and measurements of each specimen and layouts on paper in pencil. Working from literal dried carapace and also having a general guide from other drawings. Honestly these were revised and revised untill I came up with each render. The undersides being particularly tricky, trying to show enough information and keep it looking alive or real enough. I then transfered these to a sheet of smooth/good paper. I used masking fluid to silhouette with a blue background and from there build in tone and colour the other forms.
These are very interesting creatures. It is sad that they have so badly dwindled in the small, so small part of our big world in which they are found. Mark van Kets is busy with investigations into breeding and if successful will be the first to do so in captivity. It has been fascinating to learn all about this along the way. My next step concerns the young. More to follow therefor on that.
The female and male obviously differ in small but significant ways. Both shed their entire carapace (exoskeleton) and the female carries her eggs on the underside of her tail and is refered to as being in berry when she does so. Each egg is individually attached to a tiny life giving strand.
Below are snippets of the finished 4 works. Each completed in a roughly A3 size. I used Fabriano artistico paper and Winsor and Newton watercolour paints. Predominantly bright & cad red, new gambouge, burnt sienna, winsor blue and alizarin grey mix (my favourite) and the blue wash of winsor.
A better look can be had by zooming in a bit.
female from above (detail)
Male underside (detail only)
female underside with complex fin breeding parts (detail)