For many years I have been interested in the symbiotic relationship of plants and insects. I have done 30+ paintings over the years of insects and the plants which feed their young. Many people often overlook this relationship. It is paramount to preserve this relationship if we are going to keep diversity at a premium. Homeowners eagerly plant flowers in their gardens hoping to entice butterflies to visit. This is good but there is a huge piece missing within the scenario.  Insects are plant specific. What this means is; specific insects only eat specific plants when they are in the larval or immature stage.  Butterflies and moths are at the top of the list for requiring specific plants. Monarch butterflies are very popular and easy to identify. Many people know that the caterpillars eat milkweed. This is one example of this relationship. The plant becomes the “host” for the growing caterpillar. If yo0u don’t have milkweed in your garden or in surrounding areas it is highly unlikely you will see any Monarchs in your garden.

Through my journeys and research I have come to discover many plants which are hosts for different butterflies. I now live in Central Florida and have made it a point to research and seek out native plants which are host plants to a variety of native butterflies. Without these plants, there will be no butterflies. My garden although very small has 7 different butterfly host plants which are home to 7 different butterflies. We live in a society which constantly removes wild places and replaces it with non-native, ornamental plants and spacious green lawns. Some of these plants are not only non-native but they are invasive and do even more damage to the little existing natural habitat.

The only way to preserve these lifecycles is to plant the host plants. It is true……. “If you build it, they will come.” 

My paintings depict the lifecycle of both plant and insect. It takes time to see all the different stages of growth in a plant as well as the insect. It is not possible to simply take a photograph. This lifecycle happens over time.This is one reason scientific illustration is so much better than photography.

I have an exciting class coming up! I bet you would love to learn how to put together a Lifecycle painting of your own. I am offering a 3 week online Zoom class through Brookside Gardens. It will be 3 consecutive Saturdays: June 8, 15 & 22, 2024 10:00- 1:00 EDT Here is a direct link to join me for this exciting class:

Plants & Pollinators – Exploring New Watercolor & Colored Pencil Techniques