I found this solitary, intact wing on the sidewalk–probably belonging to a cicada eaten by a squirrel, opossum, or raccoon during a recent emergence of cicadas in our area–and sketched it freehand in pencil followed by transparent watercolor (Winsor & Newton) on 140-lb cold press Fluid Watercolor Paper. The symphony of male cicadas is like white noise: it drowns out nearly everything else on hot summer afternoons. They fly erratically, bumping into things and people. I often saw them crawling on concrete sidewalks, walls, even outdoor ceilings. For many nights in a row, one of them “knocked” on my balcony door’s window, probably by jumping against the glass.
It’s remarkable how little one notices visual details unless one draws, paints, or sculpts what one sees. Only after painting this wing am I able to reconstruct it in my mind. This is no different than getting to understand anything else deeply: one must observe its behavior, interact with it, construct a representation of it if possible.
I draw and paint to build stronger, richer, longer-lasting memories of the world around me.