pipevine swallowtail

Back Yard Nature Journaling

It’s raining hard now of course, but earlier this week I treated myself to an hour in my studio garden without feeling compelled to pull any weeds! But I’m not one for idleness, so I found the largest Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillar munching away on a vine, and brought him and the vine to the garden bench where I had my sketch stuff.

He/she hardly paused in the munch munching while I held the vine in one hand and sketched/painted with the other, observing up close the wonder of that marvelous insect body with all it’s colored spikes and feelers and legs it employed in the balancing act of moving the fat body sections along the stem. I have a hard enough time coordinating the movement of my four limbs. It’s hard to imagine all those parts moving in concert!

pipevine_matilija

The leaf was almost gone by the time I finished the painting and moved to the Matilija Poppies which were fluttering their ballerina tutus in the wind. And then I added the “adult”, parent? of the caterpillar. They were fluttering around the garden too quickly so I’ll admit I pulled out my phone and got a picture to source the image of that beautiful midnight blue and black butterfly.

There was no idleness anywhere around on this spring afternoon. The air was filled with bird song, that monotonous cooing of the doves and loud buzzing of scores, hundreds? of bumblebees.

Well actually there was the idleness of Phil the cat, who dozed while I sketched and later woke up to get his picture taken and claim some credit for the art.

philhelps

Home in the garden

I’d planned to sketch at Sebastopol’s Apple Blossom Festival last Sunday, but it was hot and when I thought of the crowds and my lovely cool garden at home, the plan changed. From my chair on the patio beneath the redwoods there would be no musicians to sketch, no lively festival activities. Just the same old house and garden I look at every day. But I could sit in the low flight pattern of the birds on their way to the bird feeder and watch the gold finches bathe in the fountain and listen to variety of bird choruses and loud humming of the bees in the Australian tea tree.

home1

fountain pen and w/c in Hahnemuhl Watercolor Book, 6 X 8″

And of course the butterfly action, Tiger Swallowtails and Pipevine Swallowtails.

home2

I tend to suffer from the malady of all enthusiastic souls. . .FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) but I think I discovered for now at least a way to avoid the symptoms while staying home.

Oh, but then I guess I will have FOMO when I’m away from home too, knowing I will miss the baby quail parades and hungry caterpillars growing. I guess there’s no cure for FOMO.

Obsidian Serenade

invincible

acrylic inks, gesso on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

Churn   Invincible   Obsidian   Serenade

 

churn of wings

serenade at take off

piercing the sun

with invincible obsidian wings

More fun with word play.  Picking colors, adjectives, verbs, emotions, sound words at random from bowls we put them together for some metaphoric play to inform the art.  The bats we had living in our roof and occasionally our living room rafters have long since vanished, with the help of a professional wildlife expert.  But there are still liminal remnants of those nocturnal visitors in my art.

The main wildlife attraction of the moment is the hungry caterpillars devouring the pipevine under the apple tree.  Yesterday Lee Allen took this shot after Muse Group.  Thank you Lee!

caterpillar

Pipevine Swallowtail Caterpillar, courtesy Lee Allen