With our prompt of “Lobster” today, this prompted Philippe to once again say that the lobsters in his native land of France are the very best. So, I opted for this blue lobster, or what we refer to as a European lobster. In France it’s called “homard breton.” I should note that by “best” he means in flavor, so I painted this little guy alert and looking out for Philippe’s attempt to cook him. Despite its bluish tint, when lobsters are boiled only the red pigment survives so they all end up looking red in the end. There have been a lucky few lobstermen, yes, that’s actually a word, who have found bright blue lobsters and those are said to be extremely rare. So rare, it’s estimated that the odds of actually finding a true blue lobster are one in a million. Odds like that tend to move something into the category of actually winning the lottery or capturing a unicorn. I’d be happy with either prize, by the way, but I’m equally happy with all of the things that I can find by simply looking at the ordinary world around me. And though the “homard breton” isn’t quite the neon blue of its showy cousin, it’s still quite fascinating. When, I was little and living far from an ocean, I thought all lobsters were the bright red color that only happens after they’re cooked. As I got older, I visited a restaurant called Red Lobster, and they had live ones in tanks, that were more of a reddish brown and not at all like the ones in the commercials, so I was appropriately skeptical.
As I was studying these European lobsters for this sketch, I got lost in various articles about lobsters. I’ve never been keen on the idea of boiling lobsters alive, but have to admit they do taste rather amazing. A couple of times a year, Philippe and I will get a two frozen lobster tails and have them as a treat. According to the articles, the verdict is still out on whether or not these crustaceans can actually feel pain. Since they only have a nervous system and not a brain, most scientists have concluded they are like an insect and can’t feel pain at all. Yet the very thought that this hasn’t been conclusively proven in either direction leaves many doubts. In Switzerland, an animal protection law requires lobsters to be stunned before being cooked. In Maine, one restaurateur gave her lobsters marijuana prior to cooking them as a more humane approach. Indeed the most humane method of killing something would be to avoid do so entirely, making many of these debates rather confusing. What I’ve adored about eating Philippe’s cooking is that it’s mostly always vegetarian in nature. But there’s definitely meat on the menu for special occasions and other family memories. I was actually completely vegetarian for a few years, but today, things in moderation give me a chance to relive a bit of culinary family history.
In truth, I don’t have crazy strong and militant views about anything at all. I think that life is best lived with a healthy dose of moderation and a positive outlook. Sure, there are things in the world in dire need of change and I do my part to make that change happen. One of those things is getting people to create each and every day. I’ve discovered the restorative power of showing up and sketching stuff, and now I DO have a mission to get more people to enjoy this same habit. So, yes, I guess I do have a strong view about something after all! We all have these ideas and ideals that we want to share with the world. In my case, I’ve found the best way is to simply offer up the chance and let people do whatever they want. Some might think what I’m doing is awesome and others will take a hard pass. And, that’s okay. I don’t want to change minds, I just want to touch hearts. My own humble hope is to get people to feel what they did when they first picked up a crayon. That’s literally the extent of my entire mission with all of this. I only hope that I’ll be able to remind people of what they already know. A simplistic and silly goal, to be sure, yet I’ve watched people as they’ve rediscovered this knowledge and it’s always just as miraculously incredible as finding a blue lobster.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Quinacridone Red, Terra Cotta, Cobalt Turquoise, and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!