Sunday, March 3, 2013

So Sorry Lady Bug

Still Life with Fruit by Jacob van Walscapelle (1644-1727)
The Huntington Library
While we were eating dinner, I noticed something crawling on the table near my husband's hand. Pointing it out, he was quick to act. The bug soon met its end. It was a lady bug. The fourth that I have seen indoors. Where do they come from? Do lady bugs hibernate? There was no time for a catch and release and I felt sorry for its demise.
A closer view of the lady bug on the melon and the spider in the shadow
One summer a huge beetle was crawling across the back porch. After my initial squeamishness, I ran inside for a empty jam jar. This beetle was going to be captured. I had never seen one like it. Hugh looked at me a little strangely and asked what I was going to do with it. Images of Dutch Still Life paintings flashed through my mind as I muttered, "painting prop" while sealing the lid of the jar. Something like the Ruysch painting with stag horn beetle below.
Rachel Ruysch (1664 - 1750)
The beetle's dried shell currently stands guard on a shelf among bottles, shells, driftwood and other items that are waiting to be used in still life arrangements.

I love all of the detail in this still life by Balthasar van der Ast. I've done a few paintings which have included shells but nothing as complex and detailed as this. Something along these lines would be a good challenge and a chance to use the big beetle.
Still Life with Flowers, Shells and Insects by Balthasar van der Ast
(1593/4-1657) oil on panel 24 x 43.5 cm
Are you ready for spring and reconnecting with the insect world?


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