If you were to ask me what my favourite sea creature was, I’d have a hard time answering. I do however have a very special place in my heart for nudibranchs; the colourful, alien and beautiful sea slugs of the ocean, and right now, with the New Year still fresh in my mind, I’m craving colour. With the start of a New Year I wanted to challenge myself to do more painting and drawing in 2017, and I’ve had a surge of creative energy over the past week so I’ve been busy creating, and for my first piece, I knew I wanted to try and capture the beauty of a nudibranch.
Amateur marine enthusiast mode engaged!
These colourful creatures comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but I modelled my painting on the stunning blue, black and yellow Chromodoris annae (I can’t find their common name – sorry – so it’s the latin one for now!) which are found in the Indo-Pacific region of Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and the Marshall Islands. I love how vibrant they are, and nudibranchs get their sharp colouring from the food they eat, ranging from anemones and algae to, in some cases, other nudibranchs! The two tiny antler like appendages on the front of their bodies – called rhinophores (one of my favourite words) – are what they use to feel their away around their world, and they also receive chemical signals which helps them to detect prey.
This particular species is fascinating to me because of its colouring. They have these beautiful yellow skirt like frills all around their body, with orange and yellow hints throughout, as well as that beautiful blue body, dashed with black dots and stripes, so I knew this would be fun to paint – and while I probably need to practice the body shape and dimensions a little more, I loved doing this, and it’s a good and creative one to start off with!
If you’re interested in reading more about these, as well as seeing more photos of the different species, then the National Geographic’s website has some stunning photos and facts here.
Hope you’re all having a wonderful Tuesday!