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#1 Blue Whale


First completed painting of the restarted project.

I have more time to look into each of the species I am painting now. I hope that allows me to share much more information about the animals. That of course assumes that there are very many facts even known about them. This is the second watercolour I've ever done using watercolour other than the pencils. It is so different and I am struggling with it. I hope to get better as I progress through the project. Ok, that is sort of a lie. I do remember using knock-off crayola type paints when I was in elementary school, but other than that, this is only my second watercolour painting not using pencils.

Blue whales are the largest animal, and the largest animal that has ever lived. People often think of dinosaurs as being the biggest animals ever. The Argentinosaurus is thought to be the largest dinosaurs, weighing 165,000 pounds (75 tonnes or 83 tons) where as the blue whale can weigh up to 439,000 pounds (199 tonnes or 219 tons). Science uses weight rather than length or height as the measurement for "biggest". I don't know but I imagine that it is because some animals are incredibly small, but have extra long tails and something that weighs 1 pound but has a very long tail shouldn't really be considered bigger than an animal that weighs 5 pounds or more maybe and doesn't have a tail. Also, then you end up with the question of whether something taller is considered bigger than something long. Is a giraffe actually bigger than an elephant because it is taller? Elephants can be up to about 10 feet tall in comparison to 19 feet for a giraffe, but an elephant weighs up to 13,000 pounds (depending on the species) in comparison to up to 4,000 pounds for a giraffe.

It sounds crazy, but blue whales have something similar to the rings of trees that can tell scientists how old they are. Their ear wax forms layers and continues to build (it doesn't make them go deaf) as they age, with a layer of dark or a layer of light wax added every 6 months. One whale was found to be 110 years old this way. Blue whales are much more shy than some other whales. I wouldn't be surprised if it was due to how much they were hunted. Though there may be 10,000-25,000 of them left now, that is nothing in comparison to the numbers that there used to be. During the 1930-31 hunting season, the number of whales killed worldwide was almost 30,000. They are very loud, they can reach 188 decibels. A jet engine is only 140 decibels. They are generally considered the loudest animal even though a sperm whale can click at 230 decibels. The click of the sperm whale could literally vibrate you to death if you were nearby, but I don't know that anyone has ever been killed by their clicking. When blue whales are fully grown, they eat about 8,000 pounds of krill every day. Sharks and orca can attack them, but they can't really kill an adult due to the sheer size difference. Even the longest megalodon was at least 30 feet shorter than the longest blue whale. Blue whale babies gain approximately 200 pounds per day until they wean at about 18 months.

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