Monday, June 13, 2011

Giant Australian Cuttlefish

Just finished this painting today. It was inspired by a cover photo on an old Australian Geographic, which just screamed out WATERCOLOUR!

The giant Australian cuttlefish (Sepia apama) is a master of disguise. The skin of cuttlefish is made up of  layers of different cell types - chromatophores, iridophores, and leucophores - that give it an infinite array of colours. Chromatophores are literally little balls of colour that are so tightly bound up that they are invisible. However, when the muscles attached to the pigment cell is flexed, it stretches the ball out into a disc of colour. The muscles are wired directly to the brain so that pigment changes are instantaneous as information is perceived by the eyes and transmitted to the brain.

Iridophores lie beneath the chromatophores and contain multiple tiny platelets that reflect light, producing the iridescent and metallic colours. Beneath the iridophores are leucophores, which reflect the predominant light in the environment (i.e., they appear white in white light, blue in blue light etc.).  Besides the very impressive colour displays, cuttlefish are able to add another dimension to their camouflage, by creating protrusions in their skin with papillae, they can also mimic textures as well as colours.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Aquilegia vulgaris

From our back garden; Aquilegia vulgaris, commonly known as columbine. I don't have much to say about this other than it felt good (and challenging) to work with watercolours again. Also, I have an all new respect for botanical artists!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


This week's IF word is Asleep. It made me immediately think of the many, many hours I watched our son sleep in an incubator in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. We were in the hospital for two months as he was only 970 grams when he was born.

I kept a journal and wrote in it almost daily. I also sketched. This is one of the sketches from that notebook.