Today I found not one, but two, different ladybugs walking on my truck. One looked like the seven-spot ladybug I drew from a photo during Inktober. My lunch break was almost over, so I decided to concentrate on the spotless wonderbug that was toiling up the window frame.
This took maybe 10 minutes, much of which time was spent staring at the bug. I didn’t have a magnifying glass to see it any better. Fortunately for me, the face makes it easy to identify both the bug and its gender: it is a male Cycloneda sanguinea. He stood still, cleaning his face for quite a while, and of course began walking away before I was quite done painting him. I watched him to the end of the door frame, where he spread wings and departed. A wonderful way to get back into plein aire sketching after spending time on some other projects!
This was a very happy surprise while visiting family for the holidays: a Praying Mantis on my mom’s garage! The first I’ve seen in all the years she’s lived there, and the only one I have ever observed live and up close. Such incredibly interesting creatures. She was very visibly turning her head to keep an eye on me as I checked her out.
…because who can resist a ladybug? Like damselflies, they also have very complicated heads. Fun to draw though, even with so much detail. Drawing shiny stuff with ink does light my fire, and there was a remarkable amount of shadows and subtle highlights to consider. I’d intended to draw the entire ladybug, and (as I do) started it way too big, which meant it would have been running over the Kestrel just a half-inch above. Oops. Proportion seems to be an ongoing challenge for me.
I was fascinated with these insects as a kid! Always wanted to catch them, but someone told me they would bite, so I rarely even tried. Probably a good thing for the poor bugs I believed that tale!
Apparently this is a European damselfly, Enallagma cyathigerum
. I would have seen Familiar Bluets, Enallagma civile. They’re all gorgeous, and always a treat when one lands nearby. This sketch began plein aire, since a Bluet landed while I was sketching the Bird of Paradise a few days ago. Of course it flew off a few seconds later! I found a photo taken from a similar angle and finished it up for Day 7. Not sure I love the Jadeite on the plant stem, but pretty happy with the rest of it.
TIL: Damselfly heads are really complicated! After finishing I realized that it actually has five pieces: two eyes of course, and three apparent sections between the eyes. In the ref, the left eye is nearly hidden. In the drawing, I sort of mixed up the left eye and the sections of the upper head. Might have to draw a damselfly head study to make up for my carelessness.
Ah, the tankers at sunset. Spent a lovely hour or two sketching while the sun went down. We were there late enough for the tankers’ lights to come on, so I dabbed those in with a bit of Bleedproof White. Otherwise, that’s cobalt, PO62, and a dash of PO73.
Tankers were not the only thing in view this evening – in addition to the usual birds and porpoises, I made friends with a beetle.