Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A look at my references for the Tarantula Painting

I have entered the third week and third coat of oil paint on this massive painting, and it continues to evolve.
This is a detail shot of the Tarantula hawk wasp (pepsis wasp) sitting on the "pearl" found in the Saguaro cactus arm skeleton that I found. I thought it would be perfect for the background of her while she is stalking the tarantula as a predator.
Above is a close up pic of the rare "pearl" we found in this saguaro cactus arm skeleton I am using for the painting. It appears that a healthy live saguaro will develop a scar tissue to any intruders or foreign matter and this particular pearl is believed to be the left behind evidence of an insect that burrowed into the cactus us when it was alive and well. Being very rare as an occurrence, we stumbled upon something that fit right in with what it is we do with an insect focus.
I must admit, this to be the perfect piece of saguaro cactus that I imagined for this painting. James and I searched acres of the Sonaran Desert, and as the hours passed, it became apparent to me that we were literally looking for a needle in a hay stack! What a great and exciting find we made for this painting.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Painting Progress

Nine days in on the painting at the Desert Museum. The visitors have been awesome, and the interaction while painting has been so exciting. I finished the second coat of paint on Sunday and begin the third coat on Wednesday when I perform again. I will take a pic of the saguaro arm skeleton reference I am using for the background habitat and post with next blog, so that all of you can see how intense and twisted it really is. Thanks for tuning in!

Friday, February 09, 2007

New Painting at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Pictured above is day 4 working on this massive new painting at the Desert Museum. I am painting a female Tarantula hawk wasp in her hunt for an Arizona blond tarantula male as he crosses the desert in search for a female. You can see my specimens at the lower left next to my paint palette and did I mention this painting is 60" x 120"! I have until April 22 to get this one done....and I'm excited about this one.
I've had great crowds and visitors peering in on my creative process and demonstrations. Folks from all over the world, and the response has been awesome! The paintings look great in the gallery space and I'm getting a ton of ooowws and aaahhs...that's what makes me tick, just what the doctor ordered. It feels good to put the show on again after our 3 month vacation.

Above a quick pic of the progress, just 4 days into it, she is coming along nicely. If your wondering about the background, James and I went out into the natural desert here and searched for a saguaro cactus arm skeleton, and to my delight after searching all day, we found the perfect specimen for the painting. I will take a pic of it and blog in a future post. The piece we found also has a something very special about it as I have been informed by the botanists at the Desert Museum. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

"Achilles and Hector" is finally finished!

Above is the finished pic of Achilles and Hector. Hector is the mantis nypmh you can barely see in his beak and was the last of details added to the painting. I finished him on January 28, 2007 and had a huge turn out with about 100 people for the varnishing and signing on January 30.
Above is a detail of Achilles head and added feathers under the eye from previous progress photos.
This pic shows the details of the belly, back, and tail feather ....these feathers were extreme to paint but the colors were so fun and challenging!
Pictured above are my Aunt and Uncle that live here in Tucson and they joined us for the varnishing and signing party. This was the first large painting of the exhibit that they had seen in person and they just loved him! I think he turned out great! And I have already started a new painting at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum this past Saturday on a large canvas...pics posting soon.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Webcam Launched!

Hey Project InSECT Fans! This is Project InSECT friend and web designer Lacey Lewis reporting in for Jessa and James.

Achilles was in fact finished by Jessa's goal date, and images of the completed painting will be on the way soon. She and James are now busy performing at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, thus updates have been slightly delayed.

Can't get enough of the awesome bug art? Check out the webcams! Watch live to see Jessa perform live 10:00 - 18:00 MTZ Wednesdays through Sundays, or check out the webcam archives while they are not performing.