Of Insects and Art

Yesterday was one of those up and down days that make you feel like you’ve been on the worse kind of roller coaster ride.  And you don’t like roller coaster rides.  At least that’s the kind of day it was for me.  I took myself out into my back yard and was sitting trying to meditate and just take in the beauty around me but even as I knew it was beautiful I wasn’t feeling the beauty.  I was numb.  My inner spark seemed to be smothered and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why.  That was the worse part.  If I know what’s causing something, then it’s more likely I can figure out ways to help myself.  But it was a no go.  So, to try and remove myself from my head as much as possible I pulled my easel outside, grabbed some various art supplies and submerged myself in the creative process.  I had no idea what I was going to do when I started out and with the eclectic nature of my art it’s always a surprise as to what appears, even to me.  My neighbor asked me what I was painting part way through the process and my honest answer was, “I don’t know.”

What made the whole process that much more interesting was the fact that various insects seemed to want to get in on the fun.  I had little ants that kept crawling across my feet and at one point went crawling up my leg.  I had various spiders drop in, quite literally, suddenly dangling between my eyes, or sitting on the corner of the easel.  It was both interesting, from my animist point of view, and quite distracting – ants tickle and spiders dangling between your eyes tend to bring on a cross-eyed effect.

Several layers and hours later a mixed media piece unlike anything I’ve done before emerged.

But the fun with art and insects didn’t end there.  It happened to be Arts Walk night and we headed to one neighborhood section to browse art for the evening.  Our first stop was Mind Unwind in the Admiral District of West Seattle.  This is a little studio and gallery that I have fallen in love with.  Those running this space are over the top creative and pull together the best themed shows!  Two months ago it was Bird Month in honor of Migratory Bird Month and me loving birds as I do, well, it was heaven.  I even bought the most awesome owl picture from a young budding artist. (I’ll share more on that another time, perhaps.)  Now, I hadn’t seen what the theme was for this month until I arrived at Mind Unwind where I discovered it was Insects!  With special emphasis on the fluttering sort.  The featured artist’s did big bright beautiful closeups on moth and butterfly wings and other delightful insect bits.  Really great stuff.  But what puts this studio/gallery above and beyond is that they really know how to make art interactive and fun!  As part of the show, a local insect collector and teacher, Don Ehlen of Insect Safari, had brought his collection in and trays upon trays of gorgeous and amazing insects from all over the world were on display on tables in the center of the space, Don overseeing them and sharing his enthusiasm with adults and kids alike.  I was like a big kid, for I just LOVE entomology and the diversity of the insect kingdom.  There was no getting me out of there until my eyes had feasted on everything possible!  Just when I thought I might head on to the next stop of the Arts Walk, Don brought out the LIVE insects!!!  Stick bugs of all sorts were the first to come out and I got right in there with the kids picking them up and letting them walk about on me.  One lovely specimen, crawled up one arm, around my back, checked out my neck and then crawled on down the other arm.  I was in tears I was so delighted and touched.  Insect Medicine was obviously needed today!  I finally dragged myself away and went out the door, pretty sure I needed some pet insects.  Mark pointed out that I already have several pet spiders that we let have their way in the house.  True, but… stick bugs are SO awesome!

So there you go, folks.  A day of Art and Insects and the too crossing into one another quite surprisingly, at that.  I hope that no one reading this is creeped out by insects and has the creepy crawlies, but if you do, I highly suggest just getting to know them more and give them a chance to work their charm on you.  Insect medicine is potent stuff and with all the insects in the world, I think Mother Nature quite thinks so as well!

P.S.  I would also think that Mother Nature approved very much of Mind Unwinds work as well, because she seemed to send some emissaries to participate in the show.  A moth was waiting on the door when they came to open up and a Swallowtail Butterfly came into the studio and fluttered in an upstairs window for the duration.  Nice touch!


5 responses to “Of Insects and Art

  1. Love it! My old friend Eric up there paints like that -dream check out artbye.com

  2. Thanks, EcoGrrl! That’s too funny… your friend’s work is at one of our favorite coffee shops here in West Seattle! His work was part of this last Arts Walk… though we didn’t make it that far that evening. You just gave me a great excuse to go get a coffee. Like I need one of those! ; )

  3. Whoa, that is gorgeous! And I love your story of the insects dropping by! Beautiful!

  4. Glad some art cheered you up. My cats agree that bugs are fun!

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