Don't Butter Me Up

Buddy here is an interesting crab.  He is really big and barnacled and maybe tough and old!  So big in fact that the crows and seagulls thought better of going after him.  They were very much interested but he was too big for them to figure out how to tackle.  He was very aware they were nearby.  Not sure how crabs hear but for sure they can see.

From what I have observed throughout my entire beach combing experiences, crabs are really on this planet as a food source.  So many things (especially birds) want to eat them.  Hence “Don’t Butter Me up” was painted.

Don't Butter Me Up by Helen Shideler

When I was taking the photos I really did try not to get disturb it, although I really wanted the up-close shots.  I had a long lens and squatted with my nose almost on the ground.  At one point it did turn away – that is when I figured that I may be bugging him.  So I left him alone.  However, during our encounter I did get to take many exciting reference photos.  Then I got even more on the way back from our walk.

I was just full of ideas of what I would be able to create after my successful day of shooting.  Originally I thought I was going to crop the photo and focus in on the “face” then I decided that the whole critter was really to interesting and decide I had to paint it barnacles and all. 

I also thought I would paint him super huge – then I thought better of it and went with 11 x 14”. I thought it may be  really creepy to see a crab oversize in realism - at least for me.  That may be the stuff bad dreams are made of.  There may be a painterly version in my future.

During the September 30 Paintings in 30 Day Challenge, I painted “Out in the Open” 8 x 10”.

Not On the Menu

Both of these are painted on Ampersand Gessobord, a really slick surface (official description “the fine tooth of this surface is delicate enough for fluid strokes and fine detail” and works with acrylics or oils.  I love this product as it allows me to achieve clear and crisp details that are challenging on canvas – particularly on smaller paintings.