Bug hunting! by Maree  Clarkson

Pilot Fineliner Black ink sketches with W&N watercolour done in my Moleskine Nature Journal – all bugs found in my garden in Tarlton, Gauteng, south Africa.

Hopper: It’s a bug-eat-bug world out there, princess. One of those Circle of Life kind of things. Now let me tell you how things are supposed to work: The sun grows the food, the ants pick the food, the grasshoppers eat the food…

Molt: And the birds eat the grasshoppers. Hey, like the one that nearly ate you, you remember? You remem- Oh, you shoulda seen it, okay?

Hopper: Molt!

Molt: This blue jay has him half way down his throat, okay? And Hopper – Hopper’s kicking and screaming, okay? And I’m scared, okay, I’m not going anywhere near, okay- Aw, come on! It’s a great story.
[Hopper grabs Molt by the antennae]

Molt: Ow! Ow! Ow!*

Something I haven’t done for a l-o-n-g time is to go bug hunting. There again, haven’t needed to, as I haven’t had anybody in my "animal hospital’ recently that needs feeding bugs! But this morning I decided to specifically go and look for something to sketch. It was quite a job – thanks to my chickens, my garden seems to be devoid of insects! However, I did manage to find quite a selection at my pond, which is in a fenced area and rarely gets visited by the chickens.

One of my most exciting finds, was a Water Beetle or Diving Beetle in the pond. These insects only visit a healthy water system and I was ecstatic to see him. I let him be, because I know better than to try and catch him! – they deliver a VERY painful, stinging bite, which lingers for ages! So I did a quick sketch while he sat quietly next to a rock just under the water surface.

My next exciting find was a little thin-tailed scorpion as I over-turned one of the rocks. These little fellas are fairly harmless and non-venomous, but I definitely wasn’t going to risk a sting, so he was also quickly sketched before I coaxed him to a new hiding place.

My third find, besides a grasshopper I managed to catch, was a dead wasp lying on the lawn. Her I could bring inside and sketch at leisure. It was a Mud Dauber, and one of my favourite wasps. I’ve never found them to sting, not even when caught, and I let them be in the house while they dart in and out collecting mud for wherever they’re building their mud nest, usually in a corner up against the ceiling, and every now and then it’s removal time when I haven’t seen any activity near the nest for some time.

I am a watercolorist living on my little piece of African soil in Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa. The inspiration for my art is the wonderfully rich variety of Fauna and Flora to be found throughout this beautiful country.
“There is a fine line between dreams and reality; it’s up to you to draw it.”

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  • Sally Griffin
    Sally Griffinover 3 years ago

    nice illustrations!!!

  • Thanks a lot Sally!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • Elizabeth Kendall
    Elizabeth Kendallover 3 years ago

    Love your stories and I can see you enjoying whatever nature provides! Thanks for sharing very interesting facts Maree!

  • Thanks ever so much Liz! It was a lovely day yesterday, decided to make use of it!

    – Maree Clarkson

  • Pieta Pieterse
    Pieta Pieterseover 3 years ago

    Mooi en leersaam!

  • Dankie Pieta.

    – Maree Clarkson

  • David Clarke
    David Clarkeover 3 years ago

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desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

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