I enjoy dabbling in Calligraphy and hand lettering. Here is a piece that I made a few years ago for my husband’s birthday. It says Chalcosoma – a beautiful genus of beetle, which at the time husband was raising.
Here’s a quick story of how I became interested in Calligraphy and lettering: Some years ago I was working on a sketchbook specifically dedicated to beetles. Each beetle drawing was accompanied by it’s scientific name, which I hand lettered (as best as I could at the time). Every day I would create a beetle illustration to post on Flickr. A wonderful friend and neighbor of mine, Orrin (and Gayle) would critique my work. I love a good honest critique, and always enjoyed the input. So one day Orrin told me that if I stepped up the quality of the lettering a bit it would make the beetle illustrations all the more aesthetic. He was (and often is) right. Orrin was about 83 at that time and I have a great deal of admiration and respect for him and his advise. So I heeded his words and set out to improve my lettering, which soon lead me to calligraphy. I’ve been doing it ever since, and Orrin approves. Thank you, Orrin!
While surfin’ around the other day looking at insect photos and reading up on the six-legged, I came across a cool Word Press blog called Confessions of an Entomologist. As I perused the neat posts and stories, one in particular got me thinking about the Dobsonfly, Why World Oceans Day is Sexy. So, one thing lead to another and here is my watercolor of a Dobsonfly. Be sure to check out the links above to read more about the very interesting lifecycle of the Dobsonfly
These hairy little guys are pretty fierce and aggressive predatory flies. From the family Diptera. I’ve enjoyed the Robber Fly in action many times. They seem to be completely unbothered by humans and focused on the hunt. It is not unusual to see one zoom by with another fly or even a dragon fly in his grasp. A patient viewer can observe a Robber Fly as he scope-out and hunts down his prey. One may even get to view as he uses his small proboscis (straw-like mouth part) to liquefy and devour his prey. This painting was done with watercolor and Prismacolor colored pencils on illustration board 11″ x 14″
I was asked recently if I illustrate dragonflies. I do but have not posted one. The reason being that most of the insects I illustrate are created with field guide quality in mind. In other words, one should be able to use my illustrations for identification purposes. When identifying a dragonfly the markings often used are the cells and veins on the wings right down to the smallest detail. Those details may only be noticeable to the trained, keen-eyed entomologist. Though keen-eyed, I am not a trained entomologist. That said, this illustration is very accurate however, I cannot guarantee that I did not leave out a vein line or add extra cells.
When driving through rural areas in Florida it is not unusual to have these huge grasshoppers flailing themselves at your car in large numbers. I imagine for some people seeing this for the first time they might find it sort of creepy. Romalea microptera, common name Lubber is a large grasshopper found throughout Florida and the southeastern United states. Known for it’s size and color (about 3″). Though the Lubber has small wings, it does not exactly fly but jumps rather clumsily (thus the name Lubber). These grasshoppers can be very damaging to crops and ornamentals.
A single Monarch butterfly goes through 4 stages in it’s lifecycle; 1- egg 2- larva/caterpillar 3- chrysalis/pupa and 4- butterfly. The other lifecycle that Monarchs go through is that of their fascinating and somewhat mysterious migration involving 4 generations. Stick with me while I attempt to explain this in the briefest and most simple terms.
Monarch butterfly Gen. 1 begins his life in Mexico where he starts the migration north. On the way he mates and procreates. His offspring, Gen. 2 continue the migration north, mate and procreate. Gen. 3 flies northward, mates, procreates. Finally we have Gen. 4! This fourth generation Monarch reaches southern Canada around August where he feeds off of the Milkweed plant and does not procreate in order to build up energy. Gen. 4 now begins southward, making the 2 month journey back to Mexico to the very same trees which his great, great grandfather (Gen. 1) emerged and began the process four generations and one year earlier. It’s still a mystery as to how this fourth generation Monarch knows where to go to complete this four generation lifecycle.