Friday, September 21, 2012

Caterpillars and my creative process

            I continue to be amazed every time I go outside here. Maine is still a new place to me, and there are plants and animals all around that are different than what I grew up with in Virginia.
            For instance, in Virginia we have fuzzy caterpillars - lots of them. They come in a bunch of colors, too. But here, we have really exotic (to me) fuzzy caterpillars, with some hairs long and some short, some with tufts of different colored fuzz sticking out all over the place. They are everywhere, too. I've seen them down by the shore, on the lilac bushes near the house, out in the grass in the meadow. Here are some that I've seen recently:

            It almost makes me want to make a series of pots with caterpillar carvings on them. They look like fantasy creatures. That's why I like going outside to get my inspiration - the real world is actually way more interesting than anything I can make up in my head. My inventions (including the dragons) are created from pieces of the natural world that I reassemble.
            I guess that's my way of paying homage to the environment around me - I absorb new ideas and images by splicing them into the context of whatever my brain happens to be working on at the time. Thus, when I taught myself to draw cats my dragons began to have cat-like bodies, and when I studied images of bats my dragons began to have more plausible wings. (Also, bats have super cute fangs, like dragons!)

            I also have to show this lucky shot of a dragonfly that decided it wanted to land on these flowers just as I decided I wanted a picture of them:

            How often does that happen, anyway? I've tried so many times to take pictures of dragonflies this summer, and they just won't stay still at the crucial moment! It's no wonder I have more pictures of caterpillars. They amble along at a pretty sedate pace.

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