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
Goofin’ around again. The attempt has been to to go right in with brush and paints, no references and little planning. In other words, stepping out of my comfort zone. The process has been a lot of fun, and once again I can’t help but humor myself by playing around with these silly little characters.
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″
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….
This is a type of Digger wasp. Digger wasp females typically capture their prey – in her case crickets – and paralyzes it. She then buries the prey in the prepared nest but not before laying a single egg on it. The emerging larva will feed on the live paralyzed prey, eventually killing it. Latin name, Chlorion lobatum is a very brightly colored metallic green with antennae that curl at the ends.
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
One might notice that among the insects I paint I clearly favor the beetle (order – coleoptera). It’s actually a pretty common favoritism among entomologists and insect enthusiasts. A famous biologist/naturalist, JBS Haldane once surmised that the Creator must be inordinately fond of beetles. That said, I offer you a few tidbits about the beetle: The earth is home to easily 350,000+ different species of beetle. Beetles are a diverse group of insects and inhabit nearly every ecological niche on the planet. Most can fly and typically have four wings. The outer two wings are hardened (elytra) and serve as a body cover to protect the flying wings and the abdomen. Beetles begin their life as an egg which hatch into a larvae or grub that goes through a metamorphosis which turns this worm-like creature into an adult with six legs and four wings. New species are still being discovered regularly.
Exotic beetles are such a fascination in Europe and Japan that they are collected much like coins or stamps. Some enthusiasts often breed them.
This Euchirus longimanus painting was created using Liquitex acrylic paints, and Prismacolor pencils.
Euchirinae subfamily of the Scarabs is found from Turkey to the Himalayas through much of Indonesia. This subfamily is characterized by the males having very long front legs with a few spines and is from Indonesia. The females have normal length front legs.