Thursday, April 12, 2012

SOLD -Winging It

"Winging It" 6x6" oil on canvas panel

I read an interesting article recently about the life cycles of monarch butterflies, and suddenly realized that the gorgeous red and yellow flowers growing right outside in my sunny garden were butterflyweed, mentioned in the article as perfect habitat for attracting butterflies on their returning migration from Mexico. My clustered perennials, literally bursting with nectar-filled flowers, were especially lush this year due to the mild winter here in Texas. I jumped up grabbed my camera— ignoring the fact that I was still in my pjs — and bolted out the backdoor in search of local diners in my open-for-business cafe.

To my total delight, I quickly spotted over 25 plump caterpillars — easily distinguishable by colorful yellow and black bands — munching down on the spiked leaves. They were in a fury, rabidly chewing their way across leaves in perfect unison as if it were corn-on-the-cob and making perfect returns like those of a precise typist at the end of a row. Here's a photo of a couple of the parasites wearing their striped pajamas.

I began inspecting my creeping crop of crawlers daily but never could find a single jade chrysalis. However here are a couple photos of the transformation process.

Over the past week, I have been noticing lots of newly emerging monarchs fluttering about from their empty tombs, warming their glorified newly found wings in the sun. My beautiful butterflyweed is gone, stripped bare of all leaves and flowers, but it was more than worth the offering. 

Thank you for landing here today! I hope you enjoy the painting and my science fair project! : ) 

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