Ages ago, I told the story of how I looked up at my mounted beetle one day and thought, “I think I want to paint on that.”
I asked myself, “what would a beetle get, if it could customize it’s wings?” The first one I did was “Bad to the Exoskeleton,” surrounded by dead leaves and insect exoskeletons, because no skulls, right? I did another one: “Fear no boot.” Just the thing for a badass beetle who’s not afraid of anything….even getting stepped on.
I eyeballed my mounted months, and decided a moth might want flames, like the old “moth to the flame” saying goes, to show people, “yeah, check ME out. Got so close, I got FLAMES.” (Side note: moth wings are fuzzy and VERY hard to paint.)
And then I snuck a sneaky glance at my mounted dragonfly, and thought it might want wing art of its namesake: a dragon, done tribal-style. (Also: with all those tiny little cells, dragonfly wings are very hard to paint.)
But that was ages ago. I’ve since ordered beetles and painted them as gifts for family…moving more from messages to symbolism. This couple was for my parents: Bavarian-style decorations for mom, Egyptian-styled wings for my dad.
And one of my favorites–a steampunk-styled lovely for my sister.
Then I just had fun. I started thinking of the insects that use camouflaged wing patterns to look like eyed to ward off predators, like owls and hawks that might eat them. Which made me think a beetle might want a set of angry eyes or multiple eyes to scare away a HUMAN predator. Like, “hey, don’t touch me! I’m a cranky human!”
Some I’ve just filled with lovely little patterns I’ve had fun with. Human skulls with beetle legs, flower and mehndi-inspired patterns. And even a leaf insect with William Morris wallpaper-inspired doodles to fit in a modern environment.
I even learned to spread and mount them myself, and let Myla do a few. And as much as she hates finding dead insects outside, she actually enjoyed the process of spreading and pin-mounting them on foam core, and then painting them once they’ve set. Like she said when we painted on bones, “we can make something beautiful out of something that’s sad.”
People have asked, but for whatever reason, I’ve never sold them. So I decided to put a couple in the shop, mounted and set in little shadow box frames. I only have two, but as many as I’ve kept for myself, I decided I could dare to part with the two of them. (The shop’s here, if you’re interested.) If not, I’ll do my best to find them good homes!
There’s this lovely little black & white lady:
And this handsome little flowered fella:
If you’re interested, you could even find some insects to paint on your own! If you do, I know Myla and I both would love to see what you come up with. 🙂
These are gorgeous. Thank you for sharing!
Consider one of your beetles adopted to a good home. 🙂 I hope you add more down the road, I love them!
Oh how exciting, thank you so much! I’m very happy he’ll be headed to a new home! I’ll get him packed carefully and ready to send out asap! Thanks!
These are incredible! I am amazed at your skill being able to paint on such varied and tiny surfaces. They really are works of beauty, like little jewelled treasures. I like Myla’s take on their metamorphosis.
They are all amazingly! I love the ones you made us for Christmas, but these are all awesome!
[…] on the living room wall. Now, thanks to recent inspiration from Busy Mockingbird’s post on Beetles and Bugs, I think I will combine my artmaking and collection in some interesting […]
This is an amazing concept – look how you have improved them!
You now have your very own Pinterest board on my account. I love everything you create, but these bugs are by far, my favorite.
Aw, thank you! I have so many pinterest boards, I could never run out of projects!
Love this post, caught my eye instantly! I think I like the first two best, but they’re all rad 🙂
This is the most creative thing I’ve seen in ages! And I love your daughter’s reasoning.
These are wonderful! I love beetles and have mounted some of my own before, and think I may have to do some like this to decorate my workstation when I get one (I’m a tattoo apprentice). I will get my son in on the action too! Thanks for sharing your wonderful work!
I never – never – would have thought of that. What kind of paint do you use? Those are amazing.