After finding six moths in my studio in the other day (quelle horreur!), I took my wooliest sculpture down for an inspection. Didn’t find anything awful, but there’s a lot of interior real estate that I can’t really see. So I gave her another coat of acrylic and hung her back up.
The next night, I dreamed of finding a small blue beetle in an envelope in my mother’s attic. I took it downstairs to let it go in the backyard. Before I opened the back door, I peeked inside the envelope. The beetle had turned into a small dragonfly. Out in the yard, I held the envelope upside down and shook it. A large butterfly came out. It picked up a rubber ball that had been lying in the grass, and it flew away.
Because of that, and because my house reeks of polyurethane, I’ve been in the studio this weekend drawing bugs on scraps of canvas. None of them are bigger than six inches square. I’m using Sharpies, of course, but also various other kinds of permanent markers. And Wite-Out pens. Because apparently I am meant to be inhaling noxious fumes right now, one way or another.
A year ago I was having carpal tunnel issues and mostly doing blind contour drawings because it was easier on my hand. It was so much fun that I kept doing it. Now I’m constantly having to remind myself that I need to look at the surface I’m drawing on.
I haven’t seen any more moths since those six on Friday,which is both a relief and a mystery.
Someone posted a picture on Facebook recently of a pair of sneakers that had been made to look tie-dyed with Sharpies and rubbing alcohol. Well. You know I love me some Sharpies, especially on canvas. On my way to the studio, I picked up a spray bottle of rubbing alcohol at the drugstore.
I have been drawing a lot of bugs lately, so I drew a bug on this scrap of canvas with the Sharpies:
The red is actually a Bic permanent marker that I bought in British Columbia in May. I’m tempted to say that from now on I will always travel with a red marker, but it was actually a lot of fun to go on a quest for one and not know exactly what I would find. So maybe more shopping for art supplies in out-of-the-way places.
Here is what the drawing looked like after being sprayed with rubbing alcohol:
The lines at the bottom are acrylic paint, dried a long time ago, which is why the alcohol didn’t make them run.
Here is what it looked like after it dried:
I like the semi-predictability of the process, the sense of motion that the blurred ink gives the drawing, and the way the colors change. I’m think I’m going to be doing more of this.
(Don’t worry. I am working on another wire sculpture too.)
These little bastards have been hanging out in my latest work.
They are probably either tineola bisselliella or tinea pellionella. I have ordered traps for both. I am not too concerned about the sculpture itself: the adult moths don’t chew. It’s the larvae that do the chewing, and they prefer dark places. I have numerous small felt-covered sculptures around the studio. They’ve been there for years, and nobody has chewed holes in them. Probably the caterpillars are nesting comfortably in a box of fleece. That’ll be a nasty not-quite-surprise when I find it.
I know they’re just minding their business, but still: little bastards.