These are the only cave dwelling salamanders in Europe. They do have eyes, but you can't see them because they are covered with skin. So they can't see, but they can sense light. There is a darker subspecies that you can see the eyes of, but these, in all the pictures and videos I saw, you really could not see the eyes. Their spindly little legs do not look able to carry them, but that is ok since they barely move! There was a study that lasted about 7 years and during the course of that study, most salamanders only averaged 33 feet of movement. One Olm though, did not move at all the whole time! This would be problematic, but they don't have to eat very often, once every 10 years is fine in fact. They require clean water to survive, so their biggest threat is their water becoming polluted. There is the possibility that they are being collected for exotic pet markets, but no documentation on that and is not really considered a big threat.
Well, here you go. I've started on the first painting of an animal classified as vulnerable in order to sell it eventually and put toward the project. This is as far as I got today. Honestly, since I have never had any instruction on how to paint with oils, I'm probably doing this in a way that is totally considered wrong and will make trained and experienced people cringe. It works for me, and really is how I do all of my art. Digital painting, pastels, watercolours, acrylics, and now oils, I start at the eyes and work out from there. The difference with the project oils is that I sketch them in, and then do a basic gradient background like I am doing for all of the paintings. It seems a little easier to do the background first and then worry about the animal after. The thing is, since this isn't part of the project, I may do a more detailed background. I haven't decided yet. I also am doing it over the course of many days. It is bigger than the ones in the project too. I'm betting some people will be able to recognize this animal.