Back on Kilter – Sort Of

I wasn’t able to post any more today as I promised (see Off Kilter) (‘today’ being yesterday, as I write my posts and schedule for midnight). We got home from hospital late. There was good news: they found out what my wife’s problem wasn’t; and bad news: they don’t know what her problem was. I guess that’s Med Biz. They can tell you what you drop dead from but they either: 1) know what you have and can’t do anything for you or; 2) don’t know what you have and can’t do anything for you. (Of course I’m exaggerating… slightly.)

But we’re home and that’s good.

Today’s watercolor experiment: (a resumption of yesterday’s which was interrupted)

A while ago I bought a succulent. Its leaves were very fleshy and fuzzy; they looked like felt. I was surprised to see a dark red lady bug on it the other day.  It didn’t have any spots, which got me thinking – are lady bugs like dalmatians? Juvenile dalmatians don’t have spots and, if lady bugs are like them, I found a juvenile one. Now of course I know that a bug is an invertebrate and a dog is a vertebrate so perhaps it’s a ‘spot’ thing. Maybe spots don’t develop on anything that is young. For example, I didn’t have spots when I was young either… not that I have them now…

But I digress.

Here is a photo of the lady bug and a view of the fuzzy plant’s thick leaf:

Photograph: Lady Bug on Fuzzy Plant

Lady Bug on Fuzzy Plant

I zoomed in on the bug in question:

Photograph: Lady Bug on a Fuzzy Plant

Lady Bug – Juvenile (?)

I can’t believe how much it reminded me of my mother’s first car (see ‘First Sight‘).


The shape was not too difficult to sketch. I was a bit puzzled by the number of legs I saw. I thought bugs had 6 legs. I only counted 4 under the chassis. Perhaps the others were out of sight, and were really arms that were busily feeding its face. The smiley face on its head part, seemed a little fake to me. Perhaps the markings developed over evolutionary time to help bugs of its kind avoid being eaten (see the post ‘Labels‘, for more about this).  Again, I digress. I’m probably a bit scattered today.

As I was saying, The bug was not a challenge to draw. However, the more I looked at it, the more I saw. It was a dome-shaped, red mirror. I could see the trees and sky reflected in the periphery, like looking at a fish-eye lens from the outside.

I used Sennelier red as the basic color of the beast, Hooker’s green for the trees and a dark blue (indanthrone) for the sky. I left the regions of the carapace that reflected the clouds, unpainted at first, to maintain the white coloration but washed them with the red several times. To regain some of the whiteness, I used my sponge to remove the color from the brightest places.

Watercolor: Lady Bug on a Fuzzy Plant

Lady Bug – Juvenile
6×6″ Watercolor Pad


I like this little study. Aside from the challenge of painting the reflective red surface, it made me want to find out more about lady bugs. (I took some other photos from different vantage points, but I could not get close enough with my phone camera to see any more detail.)

This painting also gave me a chance to try out my new fan brush for the fuzzy leaf details. I enjoyed the process of continuing to see more detail the more I stared at the photographic image.

5 thoughts on “Back on Kilter – Sort Of

  1. Love the idea of a ‘chassis’! I used to have a VW Beetle but never before made the connection with a ladybird. Thank you. Sympathies about the need to leave not knowing what things are or what they’re not… Liz


    • They don’t call a VW a ‘bug’ by accident. I heard of a vanity license plate on a VW that said ‘FEATURE’, referring to the old software joke about mistakes in coding (called bugs) being cast as a new ‘feature’ of the software (i.e., “I meant to do that.”). All kinds of fun with our invertebrate friends. Thanks, Liz.

      Liked by 1 person

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