Visual Journal – Golden Bug

It’s been a month now since my Open Studio.  I was pretty wiped out afterwards, then I got a sinus infection.  I also got my first pair of transition glasses and they are hard to adjust to — though I’m glad to have my distance vision back.  I now need help with close up, middle and distance vision, therefore transion lenses.  Thanks to all the people who support me by buying my art and my Patreon supporters.  I couldn’t have afforded the glasses without you.

I’ve been spending a lot of my creative energy on my front porch garden.  I have a friend who has planted a garden beside the porch.  Both gardens are doing well.  We’ve had a very wet spring and summer, and the plants are loving it.

The garden by the porch
An explosion of phlox
Hibiscus enjoying it’s place on the porch
Geranium and snapdragon
Cannas all abloom
The elephant ears are trying to take over the whole garden, but the hardy hibiscus is blooming anyway

I planted morning glory and moonflowers late, but they are slowly catching up with the other plants on the porch.  I was dismayed to find something chewing on their leaves, though.  If you grow plants, you have to tolerate some insect damage.  Of course, you also get bees, butterflies and the occasional humming bird.

I investigated the leaves, looking for caterpillars of some sort to pick off the plants.  The first leaf I turned over, had a little mound of gold on it.  It looked like the leaf had grown three golden warts.  Shiny gold, too, like jewelry.  I tried to get my camera out but the little mound disentangled itself, revealed wings, then flew away.   They were small and shaped  like little lady bugs

After my astonishment abated, I looked for more golden bugs, but there were no more.  That was a few days ago.  I check every morning and afternoon, but no more gold.

I found out more about these bugs on the great google brain — the golden tortoise beetle — that you can read about here:

The beetle has a clear shell around it, so that’s where the tortoise part of the name comes from, but I didn’t see it.  The ones I saw just looked golden.  They are prismatic, like many birds and beetles.  Sometimes they are orange and can turn brown.

Anyway, I was so delighted by my discovery, I got out my visual journal and tried to paint the magical little creatures.

20190701_164130 (1)
An actual leaf on the left and a watercolor sketch on the right. 

I don’t think my metallic paint shows how shiny they are, or their actual size — everything I do is a little (or a lot) out of proportion.  But it was good for me to spend some time drawing and contemplating the range of nature’s web of life.  And these little bits of flying gold aren’t a real danger to the plant.  They take a few nibbles and move on.

Although, I do hope I get to see them again.  I know they are still visiting.  Holey leaves tell me so.


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Cards and prints on some of my art is available on Redbubble.  

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