Phascination & Painting – Praying Mantis Pods

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My husband and I spent the good part of an hour this past winter in search of a praying mantis pod. Praying Mantis are a terrific predatory bug for keeping garden pests in check. Unfortunately, they cannot discriminate between a bad bug/good bug, and will eat caterpillars, butterflies and ladybugs too. There have even been instances, captured on video, of praying mantis devouring toads, frogs, small snakes, juvenile rodents and other small creatures.

We never found a pod this year, and I thought…’Well, maybe it is meant to be…the butterflies will be safer this year.’ Imagine my surprise to find a pod, as in the past, quite close, hidden in my holly bush.

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I have mixed feelings about the praying mantis. I want a mantis in my vegetable garden to keep cabbage moths and other destructive bugs at bay, but I don’t want to lose any beneficial or beautiful creatures to their powerful forelegs and mandibles. Praying mantis in the garden are definitely a mixed blessing.

This month’s Floral Plant Parade Challenge at WetCanvas is a combination work of art with the subject matter of any flower with a butterfly included. Plant Parade Challenge – May 2015

Welcome to the Plant Parade for May, 2015, or a ‘Symphony of Colors’!!

With Spring showing off the different flowers, a remarkable sight begins grabbing our attention!! We notice that the flowers are not the only attraction, but small insects that have brilliant and colorful wings start ‘strutting’ their stuff!! They put on a grand show of flitting and swirling around the flowers and amaze us with their beauty!! How can there be so many unique shapes of the Butterflies? But, watch, when they land on a flower, we have stereo colors. . .both are competing for our attention! But, wait, competing or becoming one? A flower alone is sometimes breathtaking, but with a Butterfly so brilliant with its own remarkable markings, wow, what a kaleidoscope of colors!!

This month we are going to paint brilliant flowers with equally brilliant Butterflies attached to them. We will call it a “Symphony of Colors”!!

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Floral Plant Parade reference photograph courtesy of WetCanvas Library and DominicM

Painting & Phavorites – October Wet Canvas Plant Parade Challenge & Color Palette Generators

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The Summer of 2014 was not very hot, but that fact was an advantage for my wildflower garden; the closely packed flowers thrived without the wilting heat. I spied a sweet bumblebee visiting a bachelor button and managed to snap a photograph at just the right moment. I have chosen this as my reference photo for this month’s WetCanvas Plant Parade Challenge.

WetCanvas is free for anyone to join – Welcome New Visitors Page
WetCanvas Create New Account Page

Joanne N is the host for the WetCanvas Plant Parade October.

The October 2014 Plant Parade

“Welcome to October!

Fall is just beginning in the Northern Hemisphere, while Spring has just arrived in the Southern Hemisphere.

But I’m not ready to let Summer or my garden go quite yet (even though we had a huge dump of snow in early September). So if you’ll bear with me, I’d like to share some photos from my garden with you to use as reference photos this month. Feel free to paint your own garden reference if you wish.
Use any media you like, we love them all! If you have time, do more than one!

Keep the banter going, share your adventures and misadventures while you’re creating.
All we ask is that you do not post your work until October 25th!.”

Joanne N posted an amazing array of reference photographs to use. I’ve chosen three of my favorites for this post.

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After I chose one of my own photographs as my reference for the October Plant Parade I broke down some of the colors in my Paint application.

Bachelor Button Chart

When I create a color chart I have an easy time choosing watercolors to use.

I also enjoy using color lab palette generator sites for viewing the color charts they create. I’ve included three for you to take a look at:
Color Palette FX
Color Palette Generator
Big Huge Labs

Painting – Monthly Challenges at WetCanvas

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Photograph courtesy of Yorky

The WetCanvas Watercolor Studio has a terrific challenge posted for September.
September 2014 Watercolor Challenge – Sailing on Windermere

I love this reference photograph and I am determined to take part in this challenge.  One of the aspects I especially like about the Watercolor Studio Challenges is there is not a specific day you must post. You can even post after the month is over. I enjoy looking at the interpretations of those who have finished their watercolors in the early days of the month.

As I looked over the paintings already posted, I was entranced by the work of Jan Pastor. I followed the link at the bottom of her post to her Website and also looked up her Youtube Channel: Jan Pastor Youtube Channel

Check out some of Jan’s terrific tutorials if you are a painter. I can’t wait to find some extra time to watch these amazing videos. I know you will be impressed by her work too.

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Photograph courtesy of Dewi

The WetCanvas Plant Parade Challenge for September is White Flowers. Hooray! I paint in watercolors and white is a challenge for watercolorists, but it will also be a joy to try and capture the essence of their purity on the paper. There are many good reference photographs included. I’ve included my favorite above. You can find the challenge here:
September 2014 Plant Parade Project

Anyone can take part in these challenges. To post your finished painting or artwork you must be part of the Wetcanvas forum. Wetcanvas is free, to join click on this link.
Register for free at Wetcanvas.

I can assure you after years of being a member I have never received Spam or a solicitation from this terrific site.

Painting – WetCanvas March 2014 Plant Parade

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Primroses are a favorite of mine at this time of the year. When the Wetcanvas Floral and Botanical forum chose primroses as their Plant Parade subject for March, it was an easy decision to dig out an old reference photograph and join in the creating of some floral art.

You can see the many interpretations of primroses here: WetCanvas March 2014 Plant Parade

The Plant Parade allows any type of art medium in the creation of the month’s flower. So all you artists at heart, whether you draw daily or haven’t picked up a sketchbook for decades, break out your pencils, paints, collage fabrics, etc. Whatever your medium, April is a perfect month to create a few flowers.

WetCanvas is a terrific site for every type of art under the sun. Take a few moments and browse their many subject areas.

*I always include an inchworm in my floral paintings…can you find it?