This little garden cutie (approx 3mm or so long) kept moving its head from side to side to get a good look at me. And then, being a baby jumping spider, it would sort of sproink sideways, only to stop and look around at me again. Bad for the taking of photos, but really rather entertaining to watch.
This week, the wrong side.
The friendly portrait group I draw with for a couple of hours most weeks is often nearly full by the time I arrive. This means the spots that have a full or three-quarter view of the model are usually all taken. I don’t mind at all. The very first drawings I remember being fascinated by enough to try and copy when I was a child were profile studies, by the likes Holbein, the Egyptians and Aztecs, and Regency silhouettes. I like drawing people in a way they rarely see themselves, but is so distinctly them.
However, I realised yesterday that I have a habit of usually sitting on the side of the room that gives me a left-looking profile. The only seat available yesterday was on the other side, and it was weirdly difficult to get my brain to drawn an accurate right-looking profile. So, note to self . . .
The spikiest little caterpillar is now . . . the hairiest little butterfly.
There’s a late summer feeding frenzy in the garden at the moment, as this year’s crop of monarch caterpillars do their competitive best to turn into butterflies. This is indeed a very hungry caterpillar, and if not quite as adorable a gourmand as the Eric Carle version certainly as ravening.
Also, if you’ve ever wondered how a caterpillar manages to cling on while dangling upside down on a windy day . . . here’s a closeup of the hairy hooks on the bottom of their prolegs (the ones at the back), which I did not know until I just now looked it up are called “crochets”.
It’s been much too long since I made any masks.
And I’ve never made a classic latex mask using a plaster mould. My masks have all been one-off creations in instamorph, baring some very early efforts with papier mâché. I’ve always thought I should know how to work in the basic method that so many other mask-makers use.
Soo, this week, I’m taking advantage of a short course at a nearby university, run by a properly famous creature creator, Jordu Schell. Today was Day Three, when we all finished our sculptures, covered them in casting plaster, and then cleaned our moulds of clay.
It was a pleasant novelty to take a sculpt to a really finished texture, fully creating a character in clay. This is not my usual mask-making process, when detail is added directly on the mask’s plastic surface. The clay we used, WED clay is also new to me. It’s not made to be fired, and is smooth and firm and very slow drying. I even made some new tools last night to help me create the scales on my glum reptile’s skin, inspired by a cunning tiny loop that another student made with old guitar string and a chopstick. Mine used ukulele string, clay wire, and Instamorph handles.
I should have done more research on reptile skin techniques before beginning to hand-draw scales, as I was slightly cross eyed by the end. But I’m pretty happy with where I got to.
Tomorrow when the moulds are dry it will be time to pour the latex, while Friday will be the fun of finishing and painting. I am taking many notes, which I hope will still make sense when I eventually try to follow them.
Spike here was about 15mm long, and sitting in the middle of a plank on the deck. I couldn’t get the camera low enough for a great angle, and hey, I wasn’t going to touch it. A cautious attempt to encourage it on to a leaf with another leaf just resulted in a small bidibid shaped ball of caterpillar rolling around on the deck. So, sorry, this is not the best photo composition ever, but it is a view of one of the most interestingly strange minibeasts currently in my garden, the yellow admiral caterpillar, with this one likely a little lost on a trek to find more nettles. Photo with the 4:1 20mm lens.
My local zoo had their annual Neighbours’ Barbeque last night, so along with other humans from my zoo-including neighbourhood I enjoyed the zoo for a couple of hours after normal closing time. And had a free sausage. I also took my IR-modified camera, and a 55-200mm lens with a 590nm filter. These are the ‘natural colours’ processed in ARC, with the red channel pulled back.