Photo Journal: Bugs & Botany

The creepy crawlers have been plentiful this year. Everyday that I work outside, I find a new critter to marvel at. I have seen quite a few cicadas and cicada killers. The butterflies have been fluttering about and I have even seen a group of hummingbird moths this year. There has been an abundance of spiders as well!

With all this rain we have been getting, the gardens are full and vibrant. I can’t help but take a photo everytime I’m outside. I have compiled a few of my favorite bug and botany photos from the season. What a beautiful year!

 

Snow on the Mountain (Euphorbia Marginata)
Cicada, latin for “tree cricket”
Salsa Red Cone Flower (Echinacea)
Cicada Killer (Sphecius Speciosus)
Blackeyed Susan (Rudbeckia Hirta)
Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar (Lophocampa Caryae) Be careful around these guys and don’t touch them! Their hairs will get stuck in your skin and irritate you the same way poison ivy will! Itchy!!
Purple Vein Ray Petunia
Striped Petunias – Petunias originated in South America and there 35 different species.
Bumblebee enjoying Purple Loosestrife
A Bumblebee enjoying Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)

 

Black Swallowtail, female
Black Swallowtail, female (Papilio polyxenes) also known as American Swallowtail or Parsnip Swallowtail.
Knock Out Roses
Knock Out Roses, a hybrid from the Rosa genus.
Unidentified Moth
Unidentified Moth, possibly a White-streaked Prominent – (Oligocentria lignicolor)

Thanks for stopping by this week! I hope you enjoyed my collection. If anyone can identify that last moth, please feel free to leave a comment below! Or if you have any stories about creepy crawlies you have seen this summer, please share!

Until next time,

“Ladies and gentlebugs! Larvae of all stages! Rub your legs together for the world’s greatest bug circus!”

Bloom where you are planted.

 

Totem Animal: Frog

Ribbit….Chirp…..Croak…..

You can hear them calling. It’s like a choir in the night. What are they singing? Native American teachings say they are calling for the rain. Frogs embody water medicine. Water surrounds their entire existance. They begin life in the water and they must learn to swim with it. Only when they have mastered fluidity do they transform. Then they can leap out and venture forth! 

If Frog has hopped along your path, it is time to heed your emotions. What baggage have you been carrying around with you? It disrupts your inner peace and prevents you from growing. That is why Frog has found you. It calls for the rain in order to cleanse your soul. The water washes away the filth and leaves your spirit bright. Frog tells us it is okay to cry. Our tears flush our bodies of the negativity we have buried inside. Once we eliminate what has been weighing us down, both mental and physical, we can grow by leaps and bounds!

I’ve been seeing a great deal of frogs lately. I enjoy listening to them. It is truly music to my ears. I was inspired to do my latest zentangle piece of the frog. It was easy to match tangles to the texture of the frog’s skin. I think it’s amazing how patterns are all around us and we don’t even notice. That’s why I can’t stop doing zentangle inspired art. It opens your eyes in a whole new way! It’s phantasmagorical! It’s a real word, look it up! Thanks for stopping by this week. If you need some rain, I hope it pours for you! 

Until next time,

“Take a look above you. Discover the view. If you haven’t noticed, please do.”

Things to do: Raptor Fest

This past weekend my family and I went to Raptor Fest at Schodack Island State Park. No, it wasn’t dinosaurs. It was all about birds of prey. I had to work that morning so we showed up at the tail end of the event. Haha….tail end….see what I did there. Anyways, the festival was hosted by the Audubon Society of the Capital Region. They are an organization that started in the 1890’s to protect birds and their habitats. You can read about the history of the organization here. We were able to catch a fantastic seminar about raptors in the area which covered Kestrels, a couple owls to include the Great Horned, and a couple hawks. Sharon, the representative from Audubon, gave a great presentation and was very informative. I learned about some of my favorite birds and was introduced to some new ones as well. She would bring out each raptor one at a time, perched on her arm. They were beautiful and well cared for but unfortunatley were unable to be released back into the wild for one reason or another. The Great Horned owl sadly was hit by a car and lost a wing. One of the hawks suffered an eye injury and the others were found as hatchlings and raised by people. Therefore, imprinting with humans.

There were also vendors and other organizations related to raptors and nature preserves. I wish we could have made it for the entire event but just seeing that one seminar made it worth going. We had a great time at a beautiful park on a beautifully sunny day.

Have you ever been to a Raptor Fest before? Do you have a favorite raptor?  Leave your story in the comments below! Thanks for stopping by this week!

Until next time,

“Pin feathers and golly fluff!”

Giraffes & Waffles?

Time keeps on tickin’, tickin’, tickin’ into the future! It sure is flying by and I can’t seem to find the time to get everything done! I started a new job doing landscaping so I’ve been spending a lot of time in the sunshine! …..I wasn’t able to draw much this week but I did manage to get a sketch done.

My husband inspired me to do this sketch. He will blurt out random phrases for absolutely no reason. I don’t know how he comes up with some of the the things he says. One that has stuck for a while is “giraffes and waffles”. It is completely random and it makes me smile everytime I think about it. I was trying out a new calligraphy set I have and did the entire drawing with it. I figured a calligraphy pen could produce some pretty neat designs for a zentangle related piece so I wanted to mess around with it.

And there you have….Giraffes and Waffles!

Thanks for stopping by this week! I hope you enjoy some randomness this weekend! 

Until next time,

“How long is forever?…Sometimes just one second.” 

Totem Animal: Hummingbird Moth

I’ve been doing a lot of gardening lately at various locations and it makes everytime an adventure! For example, last week I saw a strange creature flutterting about in the flowers. It moved like a hummingbird but it looked more like a bug; also it was much smaller than the hummingbirds I’m familiar with. It was too big to be a bee. After asking a friend, I HM photodiscovered it was a hummingbird moth! A what?! I’ve never heard of it before. It was exciting! I tried to gently catch it but it was too fast and I didn’t want to disturb it too much. I decided to try and get the best shot I could with my phone. It was so quick and only hovered for a second or two before fluttering off to the next flower. It was an amazing discovery so I decided to research them and do a sketch.

They flutter about from Alaska through the Northern Territories and also through most of the United States. (Edit: I’ve recently discovered they can also be found in England.) They enjoy sweet smelling and pale colored flowers especially honeysuckle, beebalm, phlox, and verbena. It drinks nectar through a proboscis (it’s long tongue). Because of it’s appearance and habits, it is often mistaken for a hummingbird.

I looked up the symbolism for a hummingbird moth but it was difficult to find. The moth symbolism in general was directed towards the nocturnal aspects of moths. Yet the hummingbird moth is diurnal, a day flyer! In that case, the moth totem would coincide with butterfly symbolism which represents transformation. Rapid changes in your life are about to happen to the point you will no longer be the same from when you started. Like the butterfly, it is best to accept it and have faith that life is leading you in the right direction. Worrying and fretting about it does not change the course of nature so it is best to allow nature to do it’s work. I also looked up the hummingbird totem which says to be flexible during rapid life changes. Stay positive and remember to enjoy the simple things. Open your heart up,  dream big, and make the most of your life!

HM Sketch

I guess I have some big changes coming my way! Well like I always say, go with the flow! I intend to do just that. I hope you enjoyed learning about the hummingbird moth. I was sure excited to!

What do you think about the hummingbird moth? Have you ever seen one before? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts! Thanks for reading!

Until next time,

“The significance of the moth is change. Caterpillar into chrysalis or pupa, from thence into beauty.”

 
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~Totem Animal art by Free Spirit Meg~

Find your own totem animal in the shop!

Prints and Products Available @ Redbubble!

Travel to: Lake Erie

 

Lake Erie

If you happen to end up in one of the four states that touches Lake Erie, your going to want to make your way to the water. Every year we manage to head out on my father’s fishing boat for an all day fishing excursion! We keep the perch for a delicious dinner and release everything else. My son always ends up with the biggest catch of the day! I’ve heard stories of the ginormous sturgeon that lurk at the bottom, though I’ve never had the pleasure of catching one yet. There are islands all through out the waters. One of which I will be 2016 lake erie0867sharing in my next blog post. There are so many different birds to see! I love trying to get photos of each one. The seagulls are the most popular, waiting for us to drop some minnows or crackers in the water. The boat ride itself is always fun, gliding through the water, the back splash spraying behind us leaving a trail of waves. The entire view is blue as the water and sky meet to become one. The air is cool and fresh! I love spending the day on Erie.

What’s your favorite thing to do at the lake? Have you ever been to Lake Erie before? Share your story in the comments below! Thanks for reading!

Until next time,

“It has been three weeks since my last fish, on my honor, or may I be chopped up and made into soup.”

2014 lake erie1301

2014 lake erie1535

2014 lake erie1515

Travel to: Oak Openings Preserve Metropark

 

2016 OakOpenings1358

One of my favorite places to go in my home state is Oak Openings Preserve in Swanton, OH. There are trails for just about every kind of activity you can think of…walking, biking, skiing, and horseback riding to name a few. As a child, I had the pleasure to ride on many of the horse trails. In my most recent visit to Ohio, my family and I took the bike trails! Out of the 4,000 acres of wildlife preserve, you can venture over 50 miles of trails! We didn’t do 50 miles on the bikes, I assure you. If I had to guess it would be closer to seven! There are beautiful lakes and an abundance of wildlife. Nearly every time I go there, I see deer passing on the trail; as well as birds, butterflies, and other small critters. It is a fantastic place to get a dose of nature! The forest is lush, quiet, and cool. You can hear the birds sing you a song through the stillness. It’s very relaxing. I will never turn down a trip to Oak Openings!

What’s your favorite thing to do on the trails? What’s your favorite part of a good hike? Share your story below in the comments! Thanks for stopping by!

Until next time,

“The forest went on forever.”

 

 

Alligator Fabricator

I am so pleased with how my latest piece turned out. When I first saw the reference photo, I was a little unsure if I should tackle it. There was so much detail in the scales. And I guess I’ll let the cat out of the bag…I started this piece the night before the birthday party, so I had less than a day to work on it! I know, I know! What was I thinking!? How was I going to pull this off? I had no idea, I just started drawing. To my surprise, it was effortless and flowed together, like water rolling off a ‘gators back. Now that I’m thinking about it, I didn’t erase one thing from it, either. I didn’t worry much while I drew it, I just worked. It just happened. It just came to life. Each scale, each shadow… it’s like I did the “I Dream of Jeannie” nod and the art just appeared on my paper!

Integration

I looked up the symbolism for the Alligator. It teaches us to roll with the punches of life’s hardships, like the ‘gator rolls with it’s prey beneath the water. The Alligator represents integration and seeing the whole picture before making a decision. Choosing to laugh at your own rigidness can help diffuse any anger and judgments you feel. The alligator will store it’s meat underwater to help tenderize it, teaching us that waiting patiently to make the right move helps us digest the situation better. If we find ourselves rushing, we miss the time to count our victories.

I’ve definitely been rolling with the punches these past couple weeks. I’ve had a lot on my plate but I’ve handled it better than I would have in the past. That’s progress, right? Maybe this piece was suppose to show me that even when things look rough, if I just step back and assess the situation properly, I can walk away from anything with confidence. I just need to remember to count my victories as I’m passing through life’s hurdles.

I brought the completed piece to the party and the recipient was thrilled! She absolutely loved it! Victory! I had a great time with my family and met a lot of new people while I was there. Victory!

Long story short, roll with the punches and remember to congratulate yourself on your winnings. We all work so hard for them!

Until next time,

“The first step to correcting a mistake is patience.”

integration ref
reference photo

Integration
drawing

 

Related posts: Free Spirit WIP IV

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Alligator symbolism; sources: Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams & David Carson  ~  refence photo: pixabay.com

 

 

 

Totem Animals: What Does the Fox Really Say?

Terrible songs aside, what does the fox really have to say? I had mentioned in previous posts that the fox has been appearing in my day to day life quite often. I even saw a wild one for the first time recently. With the reoccurring fox image appearing to me, I figured it was time to do some research.Fox totem eye crop

In my search, I discovered that the fox is a great symbol of becoming one with your surroundings and observing in silence. The fox is cunning and adaptable. It blends into the background and learns all it needs to know for swift thought and action. Because of the fox’s ability to become invisible, it allows fox to weave through any situation without detection.

If fox has presented itself to you, then you should pay close attention to other’s actions, as opposed to their words. Learn all you need to but keep your ideas and reasoning to yourself. Fox is also a symbol of the trickster. Perhaps someone else has been camouflaging their true intentions from you?

Fox totem nose cropOn the flip side, fox could be telling you that you are too camouflaged from the world. It’s time to stop being a wall flower and show the world what your made of! Show them what you have to offer.

I’ve been keeping fox’s lessons in mind as I carry on through the days. I’ve been meeting many new people and learning more these past few months than I could have ever imagined! I’ve been listening more than talking. Although, I have always tended to be the quiet one. Maybe that’s why the fox has been following me. We both blend in, listening, learning, observing.

So to honor my fox guide here is the completed piece I did. I enjoyed creating it, although I would really enjoy doing a full color piece of the fox in order to capture their rich red fur. I incorporated the orange tint into the eyes to make up for it.

Fox totem

I’ve decided to continue with drawing animal guides I come into contact with and learning their totem. I think the best knowledge to have is taught by nature and what better teachers than the animals. Thanks for reading!

Until next time,

“Goodbye may seem forever, farewell is like the end. But in my heart’s a memory, and there you’ll always be.”

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Related blog posts: The Eyes Give Life & Free Spirit WIP III

Sources: (1)Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams & David Carson (2)Spirit Animal Website

The Eyes Give Life

I hope everyone is staying cool on this hot, boiling first day of Summer! I haven’t quite finished my fox piece yet but I thought it would be neat to show you how the eyes of a portrait really bring it to life! I typically will do the eyes last but for the fox I couldn’t. The portrait looked really off so I needed to add them early to give myself an overall visual of the piece. Once I did, the portrait started coming together. Take a look…

It is a thrill to watch the piece liven up with every layer added. I am literally giddy when I draw eyes because each line and shadow you add makes it more real. You feel like the creature is staring right at you! It’s so exciting! I know…I’m an art/animal geek!

The piece is just about done. It just needs a few finishing touches and you’ll get to see the finished product. Keep an eye out for it! Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time,

“When I look in your eyes, I see my life.”

eyes group