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illustration: clams

January 13, 2017

clams_by_al_lau

The earliest clams first appeared 500 million years ago. Clams are a bi-valve mollusk. Unlike oysters and mussels which need to be anchored to rocks in order to survive, clams burrow themselves within the sandy bottom of the ocean floor.

Although clams may look uninspiring, they play an important part to healthy coastal waters because of their role in filter feeding.

I am experimenting with a new type of art pen which gives me a finer line. It reminds me of when I used Repidograph pens in school. Drawing clams formations is a good exercise for me to study contours and detail. So with my clam sketches, less is more.

salmon_life_E_by_al_lau
Our salmon has another near brush with danger.
Will he make it to his destination?

I wasn’t sure whether to include this moment in Salmon’s life, but I wanted to be as candid as possible. Sorry. I don’t want to be a downer. I just want to share awareness and the importance of sustainablility on our precious planet. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a very good chart, detailing which kinds of fish are threatened and which fish are okay to harvest.

salmon_life_C_by_al_lau

Otters are such cute furry mammals but don’t be fooled, they are very agile hunters in the water. Normally, seen floating on their backsides, shucking and eating oysters, otters predominantly eat fish. And Salmon are on top of the menu.

Dungeness Crab Version 2

Along the west coast of America, up to the Pacific Northwest, lives the Dungeness Crab. It is one of the larger family of crabs. Their name is derived from Dungeness, a fish port town in Puget Sound, Washington state. Their lifespan is about 10 years. Commercially caught Dungeness Crabs are usually around 5 years old when their shells reach 6 to 7 inches wide. Crabs grow through a process called molting where it sheds its shell for a new, larger one. Each time this happens, the crab grows 15 to 25%. They can be found in muddy/sandy portions of estuaries with eelgrass, along rocky shores, or as deep as 2000 feet in the ocean where they forage for small fish and invertebrates, such as clams and mussels.

Here is some good news. In a world full of so many threatened species of sea life, Dungeness crabs are actually a very good choice as a sustainable food source.  Regulations is saving the species. For example, in Canada, Dungeness Crab fisheries have catch size limitations. This protects male crabs until they are sexually mature, giving them the chance to spawn before being harvested. Female crabs are also protected by having fishing season restrictions.

What is your favorite prepared way to eat crab?  Mine is Hong Kong-style which is stir-fried in a wok and tossed with soy sauce, green onions, and lots of scrambled egg. Yummy.

I have painted a Dungeness Crab before, however, my approach toward doing watercolor has changed over time, so this is version 2 of the beloved tasty subject.

plesiosaur_vs_dunkleosteus_by_al_lau

The quick and nimble Plesiosaurus encounters the megashark, Dunkleosteus. Both creatures were deep sea dinosaurs from the prehistoric seas of early Earth. Check out my illustration which is available at my store now.

There can only be one alpha predator. Who do you think will win this battle?

sketch: salmon shark

January 7, 2016

salmon shark_by_al_lau

It’s a bummer to be a salmon in a world where everybody loves to eat salmon steak and sushi. It’s even worse when salmon have an apex predator stalking them called a Salmon Shark. This is my sketch of a salmon shark on the prowl. He kinda turned out cute. Almost huggable.

blue crab (remastered)

November 13, 2014

blue crab v2

This is the latest version of my watercolor of the blue crab. I am glad with how it turned out. And guess what. The print is available in my little store . They will be selling like hot Crab Cakes. So get your print today while supplies last!

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