no woman is an island

paloverdeb

Last Spring Wright contacts me about a Palo Verde Beetle I’d just painted for an upcoming bug exhibit at the Idea Museum. I have a sister who is into bugs and anatomy, he says, and this would be a great gift. I respond, You have a sister that’s into bugs? And anatomy?  I should meet her one day. 

Today he brought the family to my studio. I meet everyone including his sister Cady. Within minutes of being introduced we are discussing anatomy. She mentions a short study at Stanford and working with cadavers. Cady Did (they call her, yes like the bug) is completely surprised when she learns the studio visit is arranged for her to receive a graduation gift.

She is home for the holidays, lives in Oregon and will be graduating from Pacific University with a degree in Occupational Therapy. Congratulations Cady. Wright is correct, the gift is fitting. Even that the composition  includes the word surprise (as in Surprise, AZ) feels appropriate.

The whole family pitched in to make this happen. Thanks everyone! It was great to spend an afternoon with all of you.

IMG_8255

Olive, Mead, Cady, Monica, Wright, Jenni, Day and Sandy

No woman, or family member in this bunch, is an island – for sure. As everyone walks out of the studio Sandy comments, I feel like I should get college credit or something for this studio visit. I wonder if she can know how much I appreciate the comment.


The blog posts titled No Woman is an Island acknowledge the people and/or organizations who support me and the work I do.

While having connected to Wright last year, I finally meet him at a studio visit the Breakfast Club hosted at my place last May. He brought along Sandy, his mom. Today my husband and I enjoyed meeting his wife, his daughter and son, and his sisters. Everyone has their hands in the arts in one form or other.

On another note, the Palo Verde Beetle along with several other of my bugs, will be include in a publication to be released in 2017. More on that later.

meta-mor-pho-sis

metamorphosis noun
: a major change in the appearance or character of someone or something

biology : a major change in the form or structure of some animals or insects that happens as the animal or insect becomes an adult


I learn more about the Palo Verde Beetle than I ever intend. Many people appreciate it and its particular clumsiness.  When it surfaces – only to mate and then die – you can assume it’s 3 weeks before our first monsoon storm.

I have come across it both at its larvae stage and in its full mature stage. For the most part my images are meant to be internal anatomy studies. But in this case the  external form is provocative – dark, opaque and hard – like a suit of armor – I can’t ignore it. So the anatomy is in there, but the external presence of the bug remains primary.

I am glad to be done with it. The painting itself is more startling than these photos.

pv3

larvaepv2

IMG_5941

pv

palo verde beetle

I received an invitation to take part in – of all things – a Bugs in Art themed show.  I wouldn’t naturally do this sort of examination, but because it is so out of my comfort zone – why not. I enjoy studying life and maybe I enjoy overcoming fears.

IMG_5924

This Palo Verde Root Borer has been one interesting challenge. A friend gave me the creäture. I know it’s not alive but I am nervous the entire time I paint.

IMG_5930It is oddly beautiful in its larva stage – it is large, yellow with bright red dots – and can live for 3 years before emerging from the ground. The adult on the other hand – is black or brown in color, has long antenna’s, and spines on the thorax which form a collar around the “neck” of the beetle. They have wings and can fly. The mature beetle emerges in the humid summer months to mate and dies soon afterward; adult lifespan is about one month.

Derobrachus geminatus – this longhorn beetle is native to the American Southwest and northern Mexico. It derives its name from the Palo Verde tree. It is one of the largest beetles in North America and can reach up to three and a half inches in length. I met my first one soon after moving to Phoenix. I might never have come here if I’d known about this bug.

paloverdebeetlebl

Palo Verde Study – mixed media collage – 10″ x 10″

I’m not complete with the composition. After laying it out I decide to show the wings.  I photograph  and post at this stage only because I know the work is going to change again. This is an anatomy study, as best I can figure out the bugs insides, I take liberty especially with color. I add green because it should be verde even if only in my imagination. I will darken things up a bit more soon. Maybe.

After spending several days looking at it under a magnifying glass I decide the creepiest  thing about the bug are the antenna’s. Next bug I paint will be something less intimidating – I need the break.