Y Prosperidades…

Prospero año y felicidad; bienvendio a 2016!  Not much of a resolution gal, more like a ‘One Day at a Time’ lady, but it is a great time of year to re-evaluate and imagine what those new goals just might look like.  ‘Plastered‘, the image behind a new ad campaign for people against insects flying while under the influence; “Please fly responsibly this holiday season”.


So tongue in cheek for me to draw this…poor little drunky dragonfly.  In response to getting plastered by heavy wet snow and a little image researching before I drew this…Check out this macro photography of insects covered in dew.  They are spell-binding.  Here’s the photo on which I based this sketch.


Macro photographs of insects covered in dew.  Not only are they sleepy, but covered in what looks like diamonds.  Would make for killer New Year’s Eve cocktail dress haute couture.


‘Pocket Pendulum Beetle’

The Pocket Pendulum Beetle, (Scarabi Dickclarkcaneaum), native to Switzerland/ Alpine climate zones, is famous for its’ precision flight patterns, but is about as reliable as a sundial as a timepiece. Larvae feed primarily on confetti and flat champagne. Very en vogue with Steampunk enthusiasts; its most dangerous natural predator. Previously believed to be attracted to silver polish, it is actually drawn to cedar chests, musty linens, and especially, your grandfathers’ handkerchiefs. ….. and, to make it even more old timey, in sepia:


Navideñas II

Another flurrious round of holiday sentiment; it all settled peacefully and quietly joyful socially, spiritually and on paper.  The man of the house brought home a beautiful tree to celebrate the Solstice, sentinel, spruce-smelly, adding extra little lights to our days; in addition to pine cones, we added jingle bells to the tree this year.  These things seemed to work there way into my pencil and brain; above and beyond wrapping paper and obligations: just for fun.

tree1                  tree2


Birch Reindeer Cone Moth



The ‘Birch Reindeer Cone Moth‘ is a sure indication of a pre-Winter thaw & harbinger of a slow economic holiday season. It’s attracted to outdoor Christmas lights. In some cultures, the Reindeer Cone moth is captured alive in jars and hung in archways like Mistletoe to encourage smooching. It also finds it’s way into the house by camouflaging itself on Amazon packages crammed into doorways and has perfected the art of holiday postage stamp mimicry.


Maybe this is why the lights get tangled….

‘Cascabel Evergreen Butterfly


The ‘Cascabel Evergreen Butterfly,’ (Coniferium Jingleaneus) is obviously attracted to pine or blue spruce and wild peppermint. A mild winter insect that follows the anti-migratory patterns of “snow birds” who fly south for the winter. Their major natural predators are house cats. Leaving out last years’ candy canes (please remove the cellophane, if you can peel it off) is a great way to lure them in…

And…this years’ best holiday tune!




A group of two or more butterflies is referred to as a kaleidoscope. I did not know that. I left these two unfinished since fiddlehead season
.   I truly love this particular drawing, how it improved with the addition of the “tribal” grass, and for the simple immediacy and importance in life of partnership, pairs of things, a twin, a soul mate, no man stands alone, two minds or hearts are better than one, and everything under the sun that NOT being alone means….




Autumn Auspices

Taking the seasons into account, as the leaves began to change color this Fall, I think it was fitting that the things I drew around Halloween all took on color too.  
I didn’t have the heart to carve this one up; although it’s always a tough decision to colorize. I was thinking this might be a sort of venus fly trap pumpkin,  ‘Carnivorous Cucurbita‘; but that would just be cruelty to moths. 



This piece, commissioned by Stevie Nicks, just kidding. Obviously, it’s a Renaissance revivalist entymology major looking to collect & study the elusive Bat Moth (Vespertillo Woolinaius) which are attracted to Coleman lantern kerosene fumes and old, musty theater costumes. Seriously, just trying out a new Zentangle pattern and watching too much season 3 American Horror Story.



Inspired by this Halloween re-imaging of John Singer Sargent’s ‘Madame X’; the skin was actually done with glow in the dark paint.    Check out this web gallery of other spooky renditions of famous paintings.  http://www.worth1000.com/contests/27680/halloween-ren-3
And finally, “…is just for fun”…as I like to say.  ‘The Halloween, It Overwhelms‘; as all holidays have a tendency to do.
This years’ best spooky tune and yet another wicked season of ‘American Horror Story’ under my shawl….

Asiatic Amagining

The ‘Courtesan Ninja Moth‘ (Martialattius geishaum) is truly a nocturnal insect, fast as lightening, little bit frightening. Despite being notorious for eating clothing, most moth adults do not eat at all. Many large moths do not have mouth parts; hence this species exhibits truly stealth like characteristics. Drawn to silk undergarments, the Courtesan Ninja moth will hibernate in the unmentionables drawer; the element of surprise. Sterno burners, Oolong or Pu-erh teas are a great way to attract this moth. Incidentally, was almost considered as a minor character in the Disney movie ‘Mulan’.

And as always, the dilema, to colorize or not…


The True North Compass Beetle is a welcome summer coleoptera to find around your garden, lake house or favorite trail, as they are generalist pollen and flower eaters of invasive species; especially Milfoil and Loosestrife. Your best lucky bug bet when lost in the woods. Unfortunately, the True North Beetle makes for a great refrigerator magnet and are trapped and collected by posh stainless steel appliance aficionados….

comp1111The True North Compass Beetle is very dear to me…he symbolizes a commitment to simplicity, a true path, clear direction.  Who could get lost having a little familiar like this?

Began with a wilderness pamphlet on the coffee table at Camp Six,  a perfectly beetle sized coaster at home, and inspiration from some steampunkery.  It was nice to dabble in something other than butterflies…beetles are also well know for their collectible-ness.  I had this National Geographic photograph of a scarab beetle collection hanging in my kitchen for the longest time.  jewel-scarabs-672166-sw

Fortune Ate

Being fortunate or from a more grounded perspective, grateful.  One should constantly have a sense of gratitude, especially regarding the ordinary or towards the routine.  My partner and I, when we travel north to his cabin, typically stop for a meal at a Chinese restaurant, ’21st Century’.  I love this routine we have and look forward to the fortune cookies at the end of the meal with childish anticipation.  mbar1Fortune Cookie butterfly. Larvae and caterpillar feed off of Duck Sauce nectar from the Miso Ginger plant. Adult butterflies over-winter in caravans of fortune telling palm readers traveling south and are anxiously awaiting the onset of Cherry Blossom festivals anywhere on the planet. If you crack them open to read your fortune you will have bad luck for 7 years…be kind; leave their habitat and wings untouched! ¿To color or not to color, that is the question.?  mbtt3You’d think a fortune cookie would be a simple thing to draw…not so.  Although I really wanted to turn this cookie into a butterfly, it was really just a vehicle to practice the background pattern; which is simple, but striking I believe.  Also, as a little twist, the Chinese fortune cookie actually contains a Japanese fortune: ‘Madame Butterfly Always Right’.  

Sweetness Follows

Adorable things with wings….and candy?  Who can resist.


 ‘Oh My God, Where Have You Been’  Dedicated to long, long awaited arrival of flowers this Spring and to the bee that was making out with my miniature daffodil.
The Dragée Owlfly feeds off of Jordan almonds and preys, primarily, on candy bowls set out too far in advance of scheduled Hallmark holidays. This diurnal insect bird’s only natural predator, is the Easter Bunny.
Tribute to the last day of May 2015 and the last of my tulips… ‘Until We Meet Again’
 Sent to those I love at home in Maine…
Post title, blatantly taken from REM’s ‘Sweetness Follows’.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GV26f1nvZk

The Magic of Mimesis

The following drawings were based on photographs or images and my attempts to mimic those images; an adaptive tool that many things with wings, in nature, involuntarily put to good use.

The mechanisms behind mimicry in nature, where an organism develops appendages, textures, and colors that directly mirror its surroundings. This process involves a strange interaction between different organisms described as “a complex co-evolutionary mechanism involving three species: the model, the imitator and the dupe.”

carboseltze1The North American Seltzer Monarch (Carbonaticum Imperialis); this effervescent little butterfly is attracted to sarsaparilla, birch bark, hops, and ginger root. Its caterpillars hatch only in water charged under pressure with carbon dioxide gas. The adult butterfly is easy to attract with a hummingbird feeder filled with Fresca, Sam Adams or root beer. Caution: Mt. Dew proves to very toxic to this rare species.   The initial sketch was based on a photograph taken by my friend Angelica, who sighted this winged thing in Tallahassee, FL.  angelicasbuterflsy

Tiger, Tiger, Tiger Canadian Swallowtail‘; rare species migrates in an easterly direction and has predilections mostly toward the rare peach/orange azalea; found,in central Maine…most likely on S.main street, Brewer, if you’re on your way to the coast via rt. 15. Petrified, mustified wings found between the pages of ‘Tres Triste Tigres’ por G. Cabrera Infante; You might be able to coax this particular butterfly if you play ‘El Chan Chan’ loudly at twilight. Catches friends and mates via its tail wings, which also collect pollen….very handy on an evolutionary level.  tsw

Uncharacteristic use of pastel on this drawing, gets across the tiger point, (unlike the traditional yellow tiger swallowtail), but perhaps is too much…only sorry I didn’t photograph the original sketch.  At the time, I was basically interested in trying out a new Zentangle pattern:  ‘Paisley Boa’.  Based on numerous neighborhood swallowtails and a partial mimic of this photo…eastern-tiger-swallowtail-butterfly-karen-adams

For more creative examples of mimicry in nature and art, check out the photo montages of Seb Janiak; a brilliant compilation of fauna camouflaging as flora! :


Awaiting Blossoms…

A blind child
guided by his mother,
admires the cherry blossoms…


Here it is, the center of Winter and I’m already daydreaming of signs of Spring.  It took me a minute or two to follow this little obsession with cherry blossoms back to the source; but the easily identifiable tap root derived from Mark Nepo’s ‘The Book of Awakening’, 2000, which look forward to reading every morning before I head out into the world.  I love this little poem by Kikakou, as small, yet mighty internal Japanese parable.  You can check out Nepo’s interpretation of this poem here:  http://www.marknepo.com/teaching_nature.php


To follow are examples of cherry blossom attempts; all deliberate acts of trying to manifest the essence and lessons of the cherry blossom in this read.  But all in all…they’re are just absolutely gorgeous flowering trees.  Additionally, any natural or synthetic perfumes stemming from the cherry blossom are wicked.

I really like using the Zentangle patterns Sutygal and Cyme for the flowers.  Although, in retrospect I should have selected just one.   http://tanglepatterns.com/2015/01/how-to-draw-sutygal.html



This was supposed to be the culminating version of my cherry blossoms; however, quit while you’re ahead, too much of a good thing, I’m not sure…Perhaps because I attempted to use water colors paint and hardcore artist quality watercolor paper, which is like trying to draw on top of sandpaper….the branches did NOT turn into the charcoal black stunning mimicry of natural branches that I willed them to be… At this point I was no longer channeling or trying to BE the cherry blossom…rather forcing them into early bloom.


“…the unsuspecting blossom…become the cherry blossom itself that stops both those who can see and those who cannot.”


I did, however, for this one find a super excellent colored pencil in my collection that is the perfect shade of yellow and pink, which will probably become my standard color for any of my moons in the future.