Sunday, June 15, 2008

WIP Reef - Leather Coral and Sea Stars

This photo is roughly the bottom left sextant of the whole piece. It took me about seven hours and consists of three species.

Leather coral (genus Sarcophyton) is another soft coral. It feeds on plankton and consists of hundreds of tiny polyps, which are individual animals. When the polyps are contracted, the coral looks leathery (hence its name), and when they are extended, as in this drawing, it looks fuzzy. They can get up to three feet across. There are two colonies here, the one in the foreground is called a "mushroom" leather coral beacuse, well, that's what it looks like.

This coral was kind of difficult. I chose several colors for the overall structure, planning to draw the shadows around the polyps. This took a lot of scribbling, essentially. It went fairly quickly considering how much area I covered. I used three shades of french grey - 10%, 50% and 90% ('cause that's what I have).

The dark shadow in the corner is a few layers of black and french grey 90%, blended.

Sea stars, or starfish, come in many colors. I have included two here, blue and red. Sea stars grow no larger than a foot across and eat mostly algae and microbes. The mouth is at the center of the animal, and it pushes its stomach out on top of the food to digest it before bringing the stomach back into its body. Usually found with five regenerative-capable arms, they have an eye at the end of each one.

The blue sea stars (Linckia laevigata) are only four colors - a base color of indigo and ultramarine, shadows of black and indigo, and spots of peacock blue and ultramarine - blended with the blender (except the spots).

The red star (Fromia milleporella) is crimson red, with black fading into tuscan red for the shadows (all blended, again). The spots are black.



The Flying Trilobite said...

I live the sense of perspective in this sextant.

This is going to be jaw-dropping all together.

Heather M. Ward said...

Thanks Flying Trilobite! I wasn't sure if "sextant" is even the right word... not quite a quadrant but too big for an octant...

It's been fun so far, and going a lot faster than I thought.