Beating the swarm of ladybugs

Taking the picture of the finished pastel yesterday was a bit more of an adventure than I wanted. The annual fall invasion of the Japanese lady bugs has begun. If I can, I take my pictures out my back door in the daylight. Unfortunately, this is where the ladybugs like to congregate when they make their swarming appearance, which can last weeks. And it just started this weekend. For those not familiar with the situation, they like to congregate in the thousands before they find a nice place to overwinter – preferably in your house. For some reason, they like the south face of our house, right where I want to prop my picture up for photos.

So there I am, trying to prop up the picture away from the masses of ladybugs around the door.  An unfortunate feature of theirs, besides a bite, is that they excrete a VERY nasty substance that both smells and stains.  Not what I need on a picture I have put long hours into.  I managed to take the world’s fastest set of photos and avoided any problem.

Stone grist mill

And here is the result.  I am fairly happy with it.  I didn’t add as much of the reds and yellows as I first thought I would, but I rather like it.

It is on the larger side for me at 16″x12″ but there was a method to my madness, so to speak.  A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from an on-line print seller who expressed an interest in selling prints of my work.  The only catch is that they want a specific size ratio and of course I had little that could be just popped in for that.  So now I am on a mission to make up several pieces that will fit their criteria.  This is the first.  Fortunately, I just got back from Nashville, Tennessee, where I was able to take quite a few pictures from the wonderful older area of downtown.  My next set of streetscapes will be based on them.  I can hardly wait.

14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. foresterartist
    Oct 14, 2012 @ 10:02:18

    The illustration came out excellent. I hope you sell a 1000 prints.


  2. DixCutler
    Oct 14, 2012 @ 10:04:13

    It’s a lovely piece, Ruth. Glad you were able to fend off the ladybugs. Wonderful neews about the prints.


  3. Kathy Terry
    Oct 14, 2012 @ 10:14:13

    It is beautiful, Ruth.


  4. ruthsartwork
    Oct 14, 2012 @ 10:17:41

    Thanks, Dix. We’ve had a milder time with them the last few years. They are so obnoxious, I hope it stays that way.


  5. Cindy D.
    Oct 14, 2012 @ 14:01:49

    Beautiful! The color you added is perfect. I like the shadows on the building and in the grass and the hints of red and brown in the foliage. One of my favorites you’ve done!

    Due to your post I’ve just had a short entomology lesson: So brilliant minds imported the beasties to control aphids who ate soybeans, but now they have spread widely and become a nuisance to many other farmers. And they do that stink thing. And apparently they affect the taste of wine made from grapes when they are on the vines. Seriously, how do biologists never learn the lesson about introduced species and unintended consequences! Egad.


    • ruthsartwork
      Oct 14, 2012 @ 15:17:11

      Thanks , Cindy. I looked them up when we had our first major invasion a few years ago. We are not as badly plagued inside as some people I know, but they still are annoying. Nothing like getting one in your hair and having them stink it up for you. Not that that has ever happened to me………


  6. lindahalcombfineart
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 07:16:42

    Yikes! I always fight the lady bugs too but I haven’t seen any yet. I really like this work and can’t wait to see more from your travels.


  7. ruthsartwork
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 09:52:19

    Thanks, Linda. The first year in the house was the worst. John resealed the places we thought they be coming in and that helped. I think the numbers were down the next few years, for whatever reason. It’s too early to tell yet about this year.


  8. Sonya Johnson
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 21:14:09

    This turned out just lovely, Ruth! How did you like working on the larger size? Did you find it daunting or a non-issue? That’s wonderful that you might be in for some steady income from prints, too – congratulations on that!

    I had no idea about the ladybugs and the stink and staining substance they emit; I do know they bite, though. They were, maybe still are, raised commercially for biological control of aphids, but maybe those are native species of the beetle? I don’t mind a few of them flying around, but swarms would disturb me.


  9. ruthsartwork
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 21:56:53

    These ladybugs are an Asian import, not native, Sonya. They are annoying more than anything else, but that doesn’t mean I want them around.

    Thanks for the kind comments on the mill. I really prefer to work a little smaller if I can, but the smallest print they reproduce is 12″x16″. I think that art often reduces better than enlarges so I am working larger to minimize the effects. It is probably better for me to stretch an little anyway. In some ways the ratio restrictions are the hardest since I tend to work out the dimensions as I go and not work to a specific size.


  10. lesliepaints
    Oct 26, 2012 @ 12:27:27

    Wonderful depth with this, Ruth. You are an expert with Architecture!


  11. ruthsartwork
    Oct 26, 2012 @ 12:34:51

    Thanks, Leslie. It turned out better than I expected. I am having some trouble keeping the format at the size I need for the print company requirements. It’s a learning curve.


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