Ladybugs

As we go on this Doodlewash Nature Hike together (and thank you for journeying along with me!), we have explored many different terrains.  Yesterday we were in the Pacific Ocean and today we are on the surface of a leaf, looking at ladybugs.

I was wondering if this were one of Charlie’s trick prompts, as these insects are not really bugs, but are properly called Lady Beetles.  (Beetles have one set of hardened wings which form a “shell” over their abdomens and another set of membranous wings with which they fly.  True bugs have only half of their first set of wings hardened, with the other half membranous like the other pair of wings.)

Lady Bugs
Lady Bird Beetles, watercolor, 5″ x 7″

Here I have painted Lady Beetles in all four of their life stages: eggs, usually laid under a leaf in an area where the larvae can find aphids after they hatch; the tiny larvae which look like brightly spotted little alligators, the pupae in which the lady beetle undergoes metamorphosis, and the familiar adult form.

May your garden have many lady beetles and few aphids this year!

Clown Fish

My daughter and her family have just gotten back from a vacation on Guam.  She sent me beautiful pictures of my grandchildren playing in the waves, playing tag on the beach, and enjoying amazing sunsets.  The children also got to try out their new fins, masks and snorkels.  I didn’t get any underwater shots, but here is a fish they might have seen in the coral reefs.

Clown Fish
Clown Fish, watercolor, 5″ x 7″

Eggs, Again!

Eggs, Again!
Eggs, Again!, watercolor, 5″ x 7″

One of the exercises my watercolor teacher had us do in her introductory class was to paint eggs, white eggs on a white sheet of paper.  It was a good technique for teaching students to see colors in the shadows, both cast shadows and form shadows.  It was during the week when we were supposed to practice this at home that my husband and I went to spend the weekend at my parents’ beach cottage, where there were brown eggs!  So, I looked for colors in their shadows.  That picture now hangs on the kitchen wall in my folks’ house.

The Doodlewash prompt for our February Nature Walk today is eggs, and what we have in our kitchen today are brown eggs.

Snails

Charlie O’Shields has had us taking a watercolor “Nature Walk” with prompts on Doodlewash this month.  He suggested snails, which I don’t know where to find in the winter because I don’t spend much time on the beach when it’s cold.  However, on the windowsill in my studio I have several snail shells that I picked up on a trip to Maine a couple of years ago.  Here they are, imagined back on a beach with snails still living inside:

Snails
Snails on Rocks, watercolor, 5″ x 7″

Flowers for a Winter Day

Primroses remind me of my stepmother, since they are one of her favorite flowers.  I think the first picture I gave her was of primroses.  We were living overseas at the time and I drew and drew with colored pencils on the airplane and had them ready (6 hours later) when I arrived at her house.

Yellow Primroses
Winter Sunshine, watercolor, 7″ x 5″

I bought several plants this year and they sit on the kitchen windowsill and are a bright spot of sunshine on gloomy rainy days like today.

What brightens your winter days?

Nature Hike: Fruits

The World Watercolor Group prompt for today is fruits.  My first thought was “apples and bananas?” but we have the monthly theme of “Let’s Go on a Nature Hike” and I don’t usually see these fruits on nature hikes, unless I have brought them with me.  So, what kinds of fruits would I see?  And what could I get so that I would have an example of what to paint?

Rose Hips
Rose Hips, watercolor, 5″ x 7″

Rose Hips!  So I went out to the rose bush and found these, dried out and frost bitten, but still recognizable as fruits I might find on a hike.

In the Throes of Winter…

…this is where we’d like to bee:

Where We Want to Bee
Where We Want to Bee, watercolor, 5″ x 7″

The World Watercolor Group theme for this month is “Let’s Go on a Nature Hike!” but in my area, we are still in the throes of winter.  And even though I go for a walk most mornings, I will probably not see many of the items on the daily prompts.  So, I get to make them up!

Wishing you sunshine and relaxation today!

Ruth

Chickens

On our last trip to visit my daughter and her family, we got to visit with her neighbors, who own some chickens. My son-in-law taught my grandchildren to “pet” the occasional centipede that shows up in their house before taking it over to feed it to the chickens. 😏

Watercolor painting of chickens using primary colors
Chickens, watercolor, 8″x10″

Using some photos I took as a reference, I painted this picture using three primary colors, cadmium yellow light, permanent alizarin crimson, and cobalt blue.