Blue-Eyed Darner – Aeshna multicolor

Aeshna dragonfly small

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.

Insect Girl

Insect Princess

So Vani suggested that I paint something uhh a little less technical.  He told me to begin with only paintbrush and paints.  NO pre-drawing, NO planning and NO thinking.  Grrrrrr!  I worked at it for days and I’m still not sure if I like it or if it’s finished. She went through several incarnations before settling on this one.   She is similar to the Lilliputians that I draw in my sketchbooks, but they rarely meet canvas and paints.  Any suggestions-positive or negative- are welcome.  The painting can use a name too….

Eastern Lubber Grasshopper

 

Lubber small

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.

For more information on the Romalea microptera:   http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/orn/lubber.htm

Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

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.

July 22nd (12)July 22nd (9)July 22nd (10)

 

 

Rainbow Scarab Beetle

Phaneus vindex small

This colorful lil Rainbow Scarab is a Dung Beetle. Latin name Phaneus vindex.  I’ve been fortunate enough to witness these guys in action on numerous occasions. I’ll never forget the first time I saw one. I was outside in North Florida with my dog, who ah, welll. . . had just created a small dung pile.  Within minutes I heard a loud buzzing (like a very loud bee).  I looked, and to my surprise I saw this shiny, huge beetle buzz right by us and land on the dung pile.  She was so vibrant and shiny green that I just had to watch as this beautiful beetle effortlessly pulled that log of dung down under the soil within seconds, leaving only what looked like an ant hill.  I later learned that she lays her eggs on the excrement where the larva eventually will feed on it until they eclose (hatch) into a full size beetle.  Cool eh!?

Painted with Liquitex acrylics, detailed with Prismacolor colored pencils