Wednesday, June 17, 2009


For the next couple of weeks, feel free to partake in this wonderful video instead of reading my posts, since I, too, will be on a boat!
If you listen to it every day, I bet after 14 days you still won't have had enough!


I posted the clean version, but if you prefer it dirty, I'll provide you with the link to that:

Side note:
When I got home tonight and turned on the computer, my husband had taken the Ben Stiller "Blue Steel" photo from yesterday's post and turned it into my desktop background.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Guess who got into the local paper? :)

I was pretty excited when a photographer from The Patriot News stopped by on Sunday to ask me about the fire hydrant I was painting and snapped a few photos!

Well, "a few photos" might be an understatement- as any photographer knows, you have to get like 500 photos to ensure you have at least one or two presentable ones!

(Click on the newspaper to enlarge and focus it...)

It's too bad I didn't think to give him a dose of "Blue Steel"
while he was shooting me. Ha!

With all the photos being taken, I felt like I was a part-time model (but probably still had to keep my normal job).

What's funny about "Blue Steel" is that all the young kids do it in photos now... but they're not doing it to be funny. I'm not on MySpace, but I bet you wouldn't have to browse around on there very long before you'd find a healthy overdose of Blue Steel.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Hydrant Hysteria: Finished!

I'm done!

I am sooooo happy to be finished with it!
I think I get so excited about finishing an art project because I sit there and nit-pick every. Single. Little. Detail. and won't stop until I'm pleased with it. I very rarely call something done unless I'm 100% satisfied with it (which is why my paintings take so long). So when I call something done, it means I'm happy! :)
And I finished it before my vacation. What a relief! I still have to clear coat it, but I think I will do that after I get back- maybe touch it up if it needs it, too.

You can see the entire photo set from Hydrant Hysteria here:

Today was the last day I worked on it. I went out for a couple of hours at lunch and was able to finish it up.

Unfortunately I had my very first negative comment about it today, too (unless you count the guy who was telling me I should have painted all the chains the same color so it was symmetrical. Symmetry.... barrrrrf).

Some grouchy nasty woman walked by and commented loudly to the people she was with:

I sat up, sort of in shock, then yelled back, "I'm not getting paid for this!!"

She didn't look back, and maybe she didn't hear me- She was most likely too busy looking for something else to b!#@h about. I'm pretty sure that complaining consumes most of her energy. What bothered me the most about it, and ruined a good part of my day, was her all-too-obvious implication that whatever was being spent wasn't worth it. So the art of everyone else involved in the project is worthless.
Thanks. Thanks a lot.

It made me realize why so many people have asked me if I'm getting paid to paint the hydrant. Maybe they're concerned about their tax dollars... Ohhhh noooooooooo! I had to explain that it is a volunteer project and really we're just doing it for fun, but it was a juried project, there is also a contest involved, and it's part of a downtown beautification project.

"Like the cows?"
Yes, like the cows.
"And the kites?"
........I have no idea what you're talking about, but yes, probably?

And now.... Hydrant Hysteria by the numbers! Fun!

Number of job offers: 1
Number of times I was asked if I "gotta boyfriend" (no comments made about the hydrant whatsoever): 25.
Number of times someone asked me out for pizza then less than 30 seconds later asked me for a dollar: 1 (I guess I would have been paying for pizza, too!)
Number of times someone wanted me to get in his car with him and go have coffee, then proceeded to run over the curb after I laughed at him: 1
Number of times a grumpy hag ruined my morning: 1
Number of times people honked and waved and screamed out compliments like "Looks nice!": 12
Number of times people stopped and told me the hydrant looked really nice/beautiful/cute/pretty: I lost track. Seriously. Some people were so enthusiastic about it! It felt awesome. Take that, crappy lady.
Number of times random tourists took my picture while painting: 7
Number of times a guy from The Patriot News stopped to take my picture while painting: 1
Number of car accidents I witnessed: 1 (no one was hurt)
Number of times a bird pooped on me while painting: 0! Woohoo!
Number of times a bird pooped on the hydrant: 1. Booooo.
Number of spiders currently living in the hydrant: 3, ewwwww.
Number of spiders I squished: 0. Heeyyy, I'm nice you guys!!!
Number of days a lady who sounds sort of like an old, sick cat was singing across the street from me: 3
Number of hours she sang on those days: WAY too many
Number of times I contemplated going over and suggesting she audition for American Idol: 17 (but I didn't, again because of the nice thing)
Total number of days the hydrant took to complete: 6

Don't forget that next week is National Pollinator Week! Me finishing my hydrant in time for it was no coincidence.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Eastern Hercules Beetle: Bug #30!

Bug #30: Eastern Hercules Beetle, complete!

Here is quite an interesting website about them:

(I am so sad that I couldn't find a video to include of a clip from "The Nutty Professor" with the mom going "Her-calees! Her-calees! Her-calees!" Oh well.)

I never found very many of these when I was a kid (or as an adult, either). But on the rare occasions when I do find one, they never fail to impress me! They're some of the biggest beetles (if not the biggest) on the East Coast.

At least 5 or 6 times during my bug series, I've looked these guys up for reference photos, then changed my mind. I couldn't think of a composition and kept making things too complicated. I didn't want to duplicate my millipede with a bug walking on an old log with foliage around either. I decided on just a plain bright colored background again, and after scribbling a few colors in the margin of this drawing, picked red as I liked how it looked against the colors of the beetle.

So there we have it, my series is done!
Thanks so much to everyone who followed along, and sorry some of the bugs in the last week or so kept getting posted late. Working on the hydrant in all my spare time meant late-night-buggin', then it just seemed easier to scan a few in at a time, etc.

I'll be on vacation later this week, but when I return, I hope to have some ideas for a new series of some sort! Either more ACEOs, or else perhaps little paintings (8x10's) derived from some of these bugs!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Ladybugs: Bug #29

Look familiar?
This is the same composition as the very first bug ACEO in the series:

I got a little ahead of myself.
I lost track of what day it was, and had planned to do this as my last bug. I wanted to show the evolution and changes I've made in the series. I thought for the last bug, this (re-doing the first one) would be significant.

Turns out it is only Saturday, not Sunday, and I am only on Bug 29!

I really wanted to add some more flowers to the composition, on the sides of the picture- but I also wanted to keep it as close to the original as possible. Instead of doing a blue and green background, I tried to imagine a fuzzed background as if this flower was a photo taken against a whole field of them. The flower was inspired by some that were growing locally last month when I started the series. For about a week along the Susquehanna, these were growing in mass quantities. They didn't last long though, but they were pretty while they were there.

I wish I had gotten a better picture of them growing along the little hillside here:

Friday, June 12, 2009

Stink Bug: Bug #28!

This one sort of goes with yesterday's bug. Dung Beetle (doodie bug)... Stink Bug!
I must have had an overdose of silly last week that needed to explode and be explored on paper.

I added some nice smelling daisies to the composition so those might cancel out the stink. It would have been kind of fun if I had those smelly markers and had done this ACEO with those.


Technically this guy is also called a Shield Bug due to his shape.
Fact: this is one of the few TRUE BUGS (Order Hempitera) that I've done in this series. Yes, I've been lying to you most of the time... though not on purpose.
What makes a bug a True Bug?
True Bugs have piercing mouthparts, something like a beak, and they can't chew. Which means he'd make a great dinner companion, because who likes to listen to people chew?? Not me.
Their antennae typically have 5 segments.
They also have half wings, or at least most of them do... the cicada is an exception.
Here's a website with some neat pictures and more information on True Bugs!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dung Beetle: Bug #27

Yeah, that's right.

I did it.
Behold!! The very first (and..... probably last) of some Poop Art.

(Pop art? Poop art? Get it?? HaHAhAHaHHA.)

There are a few common categories of bugs. You've got your charismatic bugs- butterflies, ladybugs, dragonflies. Bugs that everyone loves!
Then you've got what some would consider to be gross bugs- centipedes, praying mantis (Can you believe it!? Some people think they're gross!) and spiders (though they're not actually bugs).
And then there are the bugs that are just silly. Like the dung beetle. These members of the scarab beetle family find piles of animal poop and roll pieces of it into balls. They dig a hole and bury the doodie ball, and the female lays her eggs on it. When they hatch... INSTANT BREAKFAST. That's right, these beetles feed on poop. Lots and lots of it.
Click here to learn all you ever wanted to know about a bug that lives on poop:

"Dung" sounds so innocuous though. I mean, we all know what it is.
It's poop!!!
It would be a lot more hilarious if this bug was just referred to as one of the following:

Poop Bug
Excrement Afficionado
Sultan of Sh#t
Maniac Fecalpheliac
Doodie Roller
Consecrate of Crap

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bumble Bee & Rose: Bug #26

I knew I wanted to include at least one composition with some bees in my series. I did honeybees for Bug #6, but knew I wanted to eventually add a bumble bee, too. So here he is, in his giant, fuzzy glory! Actually maybe too giant... I tried to illustrate a small, baby rose bloom here with the small petals all packed in together, not fully unfurled. But I think I just ended up making the bee look REALLY HUGE.

Huge bees.... Awesome. All the more fun for petting.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Water Beetle! Bug # 25

Tuesday's bug is a Water Beetle! I don't really know a lot about these guys, except that you can often find pictues of them actually killing small frogs to eat, some people eat them, and some of these water beetles can get VERY BIG!
Those are known as the Giant Water Beetles.

My husband did ask what the background is supposed to be, so just to clarify... This beetle is diving down in some shallow water, amongst some green water plants and marshy reed grass.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Oleander Hawk (Sphinx) Moth: Bug #24

How I would love to see one of these in person:

The oh-so-colorful Oleander Sphinx Moth.

Members of the Hawk Moth family, these moths are native to Africa and Asia. Some migrate to Europe in the summer. They can also be found in parts of Hawaii- next time I'm there, I'll be on the look out!

I've only seen them in pictures, but they're one of the most stunning and beautiful bugs I can recall.

You can see more images of them here- as far as I can tell from the photos I've seen, the colors I illustrated aren't exaggerated (well, maybe the yellow, a little, but that's it!). This is what they really look like! :)

Oleander Hawk Moth Images....

Hydrant Hysteria: Weekend #1

I know, I know, I've been horrible about keeping up lately.
I've been getting the bugs done so late at night, and haven't given any updates on the fire hydrant painting!

I painted all day on Saturday, and also some this morning. I reached a point where I had to run out and buy a color, but of course, I couldn't find it anywhere and wasted a whole bunch of time driving around to different stores who said they had what I needed- and guess what? They didn't.

But I did manage to upload a bunch of the pictures to Flickr and added some descriptions! Here's the link to the set:

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Peering Katydid- Bug #23!

I have been unbelievably busy since this weekend, trying to catch up on work (I mean, my real job) and art. I'll try and get the bugs uploaded as soon as I can!

Sunday's bug is a Katydid!

I love their silly faces and when they look at you head on, you can't help but laugh. They just look so inquinsitive.
"What is it, little katydid? Why do you look at me that way? You're going to give me a complex..."
I guess to them, we probably look pretty silly, too.

If you'd like to read some interesting facts about Katydids, check out this link!

I'll have to add my bug updates gradually while I'm trying to catch up with everything, and unfortunately I'll have to take another short blog hiatus for a few days because I'll be out of town for work. But of course my colored pencils, art paper, pens, and bug guides WILL be coming with me and I'll still be drawing bugs while I'm away!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Inchworm, Inchworm... Bug #22

Saturday's bug:

A sweet little inchworm!

I played around again with a colorful sky, rather than just a blue one. It's so much fun! I was afraid it would come out looking... well, weird, when I did a purple background for the butterfly, but I liked it so much I did it again. Another trend in the series is taking place! :)

If you're in a creative rut, I highly recommend taking on a little daily creativity project for yourself. I love that I have to come up with the concept and execution start to finish each day. I might have an idea ahead of time, but usually don't begin sketching until the day I'm creating that bug. Just in this series I can tell I've grown so much and learned a lot from experimenting and trying new things!

I think it's a great exercise for any artist! :)

So... Any suggestions for the last few bugs? I can't believe I'm almost done! I'm kind of sad, but also looking forward to what other projects I may take on after completing these bugs! I might turn a couple into larger paintings, or maybe even tote bags or other fabric projects. Who knows?

I am SO flattered! My little inchworm here was featured on!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Swallowtail Butterfly & Zinnia: Bug #21

Bug #21: A beautiful Tiger Swallowtail!

We used to have so many of these in our yard in Maryland. They love Zinnias, so the one in this picture is having a drink from a reddish-orange one. I tried playing around with the stylized lines again, and really I think they added a lot to this composition!

Why the purple sky?
I had done the purple sky with the fireflies, which looks great at night. I wasn't sure how it would look for a daytime picture, but I really didn't just want to do another blue sky either. So what goes well with yellow? Its complimentary color purple, of course! It's different, and kind of.... fun.

What do you think?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Fireflies / Lightning Bugs: #20

I've wanted to do a painting of lightning bugs for years and years.
This isn't a painting, it's colored pencil again, but I am still glad to finally get some lightning bugs done!

The scan on this one wrinkled a bit- when I fixative it, and attach the back, I will probably try and rescan it when it's been made flat!

Which do you call them: Fireflies? Or Lightning Bugs?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Bug #19: Field Cricket. Very NOISY

My husband said before he went to sleep,
"I want to see a cricket when I get up tomorrow."

I like crickets, too, so a cricket makes us both happy.

(Plus up here, I yet to see any of those big ones that, from far away, look like giant spiders. Ugh!)

I've gotten into a bad habit of doing some of my bugs very late at night. I need to take the time and do them in the afternoons when I've got more creative energy. Save things for later that don't need to sap all my creativity.

I know I'm technically late getting this guy up, and will be late getting tomorrow's up, too- but I'm timestamping it correctly so when I go back in virtual bug blogging time, I can see which bug corresponded to which day :)

It's been super busy this week in the House of Little Bug: A meeting for the fire hydrant project, butterfly housing, Etsy selling and shipping, and other fun stuff.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Millipede Mania! ACEO Bug #18


A couple of nights ago, I started a post in the Etsy forums asking members what their favorite bugs are. I find it fun when I get suggestions from others as it lends me ideas that I may not come up with myself. However, one suggestion (from a user named HowlingCaterpillars, how could I not comply?) was a millipede. This was also a bug that had crossed my mind a few times. I took the suggestion as a push to get him done!

Drawing (literally, sort of) from the line variations in yesterday's Snail illustration, I decided to employ that technique again. I had fun with it yesterday and I really, really liked the way that it looked. I felt it made the composition so much more interesting and in that particular piece, brought more focus to the foreground (which is what I had intended. Yay! It worked!).

And today, I'm happy with it again!

Here he is, crawling on an old decroded log (as you usually find them) deep in the woods.
Anyone recognize the plants that surround him?
Who knows why on earth I decided I had to draw poison ivy. I guess because as bug you find crawling around on the ground or in very low places in the woods, low growing plants came to mind.

I'm finding this forced daily creativity to be quite an evolutionary process. The 30 Bugs series is almost a life all on its own. The first two filled the criteria of being bugs and being ACEOs, but didn't offer anything spectacular. I had to up the ante. In the 3rd one, the grasshopper, I grabbed a pen and didn't look back. I had a really good run with the next few. But then there were a couple seemed like good ideas at the time, but didn't quite measure up to my expectations. (We'll call those bugs the "awkward puberty" in the life of the series, hehe.) I had to up the ante again. I altered between deep, saturated colors, pressing hard on the pencils, and then some light fills letting some white show through. And the last two have taken on the variation in outlines and I will probably carry on with that trend for a while.

I wonder what the last ones in the series will show.

One thing I've had fun with is not keeping everything completely realistic. I've kept the bugs themselves pretty accurate as far as anatomy, and the flowers and backgrounds, too. But I'm not worrying quite so much about light, shading, etc. It makes me want to try some paintings in this same informal style- realistic illustrations, without sooooooooo much detail as I would usually paint. I might even carry some of these cards' compositions over into some small paintings... who knows?

Ahhh... so some of the cards in the life of the series will be reincarnated into paintings.
An afterlife!

2 Happy Things!

On Saturday, I went to get our mail and found a large, stiff envelope with my name on it.
From the Pennsylvania Governor's Office.
"Oh, crap! Now what? What did I do this time?"
I was totally afraid I had messed something up horrifically on my taxes and really didn't want to know what was in this very, very official looking envelope. Ugh.

So I opened it first, to get it over with.
Imagine my pleasant surprise to find an official letter from Governor Rendell proclaiming Pennsylvania's participation in
National Pollinator Week (June 22-28)

This is the first time I've ever gotten something like this in the mail, so as you can imagine, it made me extremely giddy. I was so excited that I had to take a picture of it (sitting here, with the other mail, hehe). Check out that gold seal and everything!


A few months ago, sent out an action request to members, asking us to write to our state governors and ask them for a state Pollinator Week Proclamation. Pennsylvania participated last year, so I had faith that Governor Rendell would be in favor of it in 2009, too. But apparently for a state to have an official Proclamation, there has to be a request for it. I didn't know that.
Another happy surprise to me yesterday was that I was checking up on some of the blogs I'm following, and one of those is The Speckled Pear. Beautiful blog, done by a graphic designer who has done a lot of remarkable backgrounds for others' blogs and offers some eye-catching and intricate Etsy Shop banner designs (check this one out, I love it: in her store. As a graphic artist myself, can't imagine the time spent creating some of them.

But anyway, the surprise came when I was scrolling through her blog, checking out her 10 Featured Etsy Shops for the month of June. I remembered her posting that she was looking for shops to feature, and as I scrolled through the Chosen Ones, I was in a state of awe. Beautiful items, tons of talent, and perfect photography in these shops. I thought "Of course, of course, she's got the best of the best here. No way would she have featured my shop in this, but this certainly gives me something to aspire to- these folks are amazing!" As I scrolled down, imagine my complete shock when, staring back at me, were thumbnails of my art. From my store. I couldn't believe what I was seeing! I am really humbled at being seen next to these other shops.

Please hop over to The Speckled Pear and check out her blog and the featured shops at the bottom of her blog... You will thank me later! :)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Cute Colorful Snail: Bug #17!

I can't believe I'm already on Bug 17! This series is really flying by (Ha! Bugs! Flying by! ...I kill me)!

Today's bug is a sweet little snail, meandering through the thick weeds of a garden.

But wait.
Are snails really bugs
The answer is....... technically, NO!
They are members of the Mollusks family!

So, similar to the Roly Poly, I've included another bug in this series that isn't really a bug. According to my husband, "it doesn't count!" But since the series is something I'm doing for fun, I'm including little critters that most people commonly perceive as being bugs. Part of the reason this is fun is because I can add them to the series and make it an educational project. I love being able to share information about bugs that others may not have know, such as the agony caused by the red Velvet Ant, and the endearingly peculiar (and totally harmless) Hummingbird Moth.