I began drawing to be like my mom. It keeps me connected to her; like continuing something she couldn’t do for herself. My mother passed at the young age of 33, I was 9.
As a tom-boy kid I collected all sorts of bugs. I remember rifling through pantries for old Mason jars to house a grasshopper, caterpillar, or butterfly. I was fascinated by the iridescence of the dragonflies and their deep hum as they jetted past me while fishing, of sorts, at my uncle’s irrigation pond. I was also deathly afraid of spiders, bees, and beetles; screamed and shuttered when face-to-face. The idea to do pen-and-inks of bugs came from being stifled by a piece. There was this unforgiving white space in the upper left hand corner of my Geranium (now Geranium and Bee). It took me two days to commit to a bumble bee. The bee looks a bit “piggish” in retrospect, but I love that bee.
Once the Geranium and Bee was completed I recalled a favorite photo by a friend of a dragonfly. The Dragonfly was my first full featured bug. After the Dragonfly the subject matter just landed in my lap, literally; a picture my son took of a giant silk moth while in Michigan became piece number two. A beetle landing on my page inspired number three, followed by the Bee, Grasshopper, Ladybug, Spider, Praying Mantis, Caterpillar, and Potato Bug. My 12th and last piece in the "Bug" series will be a Fly.
What entertains me the most about the technique is trying to capture the textures; the hard, crusty shell of a beetle’s leg, the hairiness of a bee, the soft, vulnerable underside of a grasshopper, or delicate wings of a dragonfly. Each texture requires a different pressure, and/or distance between dots/strokes. The already textured watercolor paper I use adds another layer of complexity, especially when precision counts. It’s a slow process, and the anticipation keeps me very much engaged.
My plan is to complete 12 full featured bugs. Then change subject matter.
Disclaimer – I don’t claim to be a bug expert, so for all the Entomologists out there my pieces are artistic renditions, not meant to represent exact insect anatomy. Please go easy on me.