A quick sketch, because National Moth Week isn’t quite over

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Moths to the left, butterflies on the right

It’s National Moth Week!

Since moths outnumber butterflies 11-to-1 in North America, there’s lots to see, get excited about, and…sketch!

There’s something particularly fun about sketching moths that are visible/active in daylight – moths like the clearwing sphinx moth (also known as the hummingbird moth). And, even the “millers” that flutter around houses so distractingly can make great subjects. Continue reading A quick sketch, because National Moth Week isn’t quite over

Drawn to the West: An “impossible” insect observation?

Cross-posted on www.drawntothewest.com
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There aren’t supposed to be any fireflies in Montana.

At least not the type that blink and flash in a mesmerizing stereotypical way. But, I’m getting ahead of myself, because when I saw fireflies flashing this summer, I didn’t know any of the science behind what I just told you. Continue reading Drawn to the West: An “impossible” insect observation?

Drawn to the West: Squirrelly Notions

Cross-posted on www.drawntothewest.com
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There weren’t any squirrels in the town where I grew up.

I didn’t know to remark on that fact when I was young.

It wasn’t until I moved away from home that I discovered two apparent truisms regarding urban squirrels:

  1. Squirrels can be boldly urbane, in their own chattery twitchy way.  
  2. Squirrels occur en masse in every town and city I have since inhabited.
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Despite this, or perhaps as a result, I haven’t thought or written much about squirrels. That pleasant oblivion ended abruptly last summer. In 2014, my typical gardening frenzy was necessarily pared down to a few pots of tomatoes, peppers, and herbs on a borrowed balcony.

Continue reading Drawn to the West: Squirrelly Notions

A quick look at insects during National Pollinator Week

Cross-posted on www.drawntothewest.com

For the past decade, I’ve taken special delight in looking at, and drawing, insects.

It all started with a three-year artist residency at the Watershed Education Network, where I developed a place-based journal/sketching component for their stream ecology field trips, drew about 30 aquatic macroinvertebrate (small water-dwelling insects) illustrations for a wetland guide book, and helped develop a new logo and merchandise line. Continue reading A quick look at insects during National Pollinator Week

How wondering “What’s wrong with that sagebrush?” led to drawing and researching insects I didn’t know existed.

 Cross-posted on www.drawntothewest.com

The other weekend, I was out hiking in an area of southwest Wyoming resplendent with big sagebrush.

As my husband and our puppy cruised ahead, I lagged behind, peering at some strange growths on the tips of a sagebrush’s leaves. The more I looked, the more I found, and the more I found, the more curious I became.

The little growths were less than an inch across, many much smaller, and ranged from chestnut brown to pale greenish-pink. They were spongy to the touch, and appeared to be covered in tiny hairs. Continue reading How wondering “What’s wrong with that sagebrush?” led to drawing and researching insects I didn’t know existed.