Leaf of the Day: Bugs in the paint #4, Spider and more Sketches

I think after yesterday’s post I was more aware then usual of spiders, and one of the first things I came across today was an almost invisible web, strung across the sea grapes, and in the middle, carefully threading and mending was this amazing little spider. I have never seen anything quite like this. I found out about it by Googling “spider that looks like a star”. Well I thought so, locally they are called crab spiders.

I am sure Floridians will be very familiar with this little creature with a big happy face on his back. This is the Spiny Backed Orb Weaving spider. Gasteracantha cancriformis
My photo is not too good but here is what it really looks like from a wikipedia photo taken by Mkullen in Hernando, Florida here.

They come in a variety of different colours some yellow, some red. There is a mountain of information about them on the web, (as there would be…:)…), and I now know more about them than I really care for. But these little spiders are pretty, beneficial and harmless and one thing I didn’t know is that baby spiders are called spiderlings…that makes them almost acceptable.

The garden was very busy today and I could not settle, everywhere I went I was either in the way or my chosen spot was busy with gardeners. So I decided just to sketch more or less on the hoof, with the small 9×6 inch sketchbook and a big soft water soluble pencil. I was looking more up than down today, mostly at the trees. I am fascinated by the huge live oaks whose limbs spiral skywards then arch and curve back to the ground sometimes with the accompanying frill of little resurrection ferns dancing along the length of the branch. These scribbly sketches are great for looking …just looking, looking looking and looking again. You have to really take in everything to make even a few lines.. an exercise in reduction. At the end of it you have on paper what has interested you, even if it is only one beautiful curve. To the artist this is invaluable, to the viewer I know, it is often incomprehensible.

The first three are of paths. I like paths and especially paths that branch or curve away.
This is the avenue of Camphor trees with the right path leading down to the lake.

A diverging path by the lake

…another path by the lake.

Some cheese plant leaves

Oak limbs and cheese plant leaves

The spiralling trunk of a live oak

A view of the old Leu House, with its balconies dressed for Christmas.

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  1. Fantastic spider…I love the orb weavers. You sketch beautifully, btw!
    I have been meaning to tell you that.

    clay and limestone

  2. I love these Orb Weavers. I just encountered them for the first time in Texas in December and was fortunate to run into (literally in some instances) some of each color.

  3. Thanks you two.. I was enchanted with this little thing and the one at Leu has the red spikes now I have been able to look at it closer. I am now looking out for other colours!

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