Artist Comments: The Texas Horned Lizard, or simply “horny toad” as we called them when I was a kid growing up in west Texas, was fun a painting to do and brought back lots of fond childhood memories. As children, my friends and I would see these critters all the time and often played with them for a while, then we would release them. As an adult I noticed they aren’t in abundance so much anymore. So I did a little research to find out why. This is what I discovered from my readings.
About 70% of the Texas horned lizard’s diet is made up of harvester ants. Through the years their population has declined by about 30%. Although, I’m happy to read, they may be making a comeback. The decline is due to the overuse of pesticides and the spread of nonnative fire ants. Both eradicate harvester ant colonies, destroying the lizard’s principal source of food. The Texas horned lizard is now a protected species, and, in Texas, it is illegal to take, possess, transport or sell them without a special permit.
According to Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine, issue August/September 2018, “Texas horned lizards once occurred throughout Texas, but now only a few populations remain. Efforts to move Texas horned lizards from one location in Texas to another, with the hope of establishing new self-sustaining populations in previously occupied habitat, are underway. Several Texas zoos are also working to develop colonies for reintroduction programs. RAWA (Recovering America’s Wildlife Act) funding would pay for “lizard factories” to help with reintroduction efforts.”
I shared a post about my findings on Facebook and received some interesting comments.
One friend whom I’ve known since my early teen years lives a small Texas town. She told me they have a horny toad festival every year called The Old Rip Festival. And it’s all about a horny toad named Old Rip! She sent me a link to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine website. It tells all about the legend, lore and legacy of Old Rip, a horny toad that supposedly lived for 31 years! (https://tpwmagazine.com/archive/2008/oct/legend/)
Another FB pal comments, “you still see these in West Texas and Panhandle. Fire ants haven’t taken over every inch of ground like they have here, and harvester ants are still there, so that helps with the “horny toads”. Hope they make a comeback here someday.”
Size: 6″ x 6″ Support: Gallery wrap stretched canvas Description: A close-up painting of a red ladybug sitting on a red flower. This painting will not need a frame. Gallery wrap means the canvas wraps around the support. This allows the artist to paint around the edges of the painting.
Artist Comments: This painting is of a lady bug sitting on a red flower and the ladybugs’ color is almost the perfect camouflage. I named it “Almost Perfect Camouflage” because the red color of the ladybug blends in so well with the flower he/she is sitting on. A natural predator would have to look very close to see it.
Where did they get their name?Are all ladybugs female? What do you call a ladybug that is a male? How can you tell them apart? All great questions!
The name ladybug is the common name for Coccinellidae, a Latin word meaning scarlet, and is the American name for the insect Europeans call the “lady beetle” or “ladybird beetle.” Whether you call them a ladybug, ladybird or lady beetle, the name is thought to have its origins in an old legend from Europe during the Middle ages.
Legend has it that the Europeans agricultural crops were being destroyed by pests, so Catholic farmers began praying to the Blessed Lady (the Virgin Mary) for help. Soon afterward they noticed tiny black and red beetles in their fields eating the unwanted pests. Their crops were miraculously spared the damage from the infestation. The farmers attributed their good fortune to the tiny insects which they called “the beetles of our Lady.” The red color of the beetle represents Mary’s cloak and the black spots her sorrows. Through the years they eventually came to be known as ladybugs.
Even though they are called lady bugs, they do come in both the male and female varieties, and both sexes are called the same thing… “ladybugs.” To the naked eye it is hard to distinguish the male from female ladybugs, although, females are larger than males. And that is hard to distinguish unless they are next to each other.
Size: 6″ x 6″ Support: Gallery wrap stretched canvas Description: Close-up oil painting of a red ladybug hanging on tight to a leafy branch. This painting will not require a frame as the image extends around the edges of the canvas surface.
Artist Comments: This painting is the first of two featuring a ladybug. I actually worked on both paintings at the same time, i.e. Ladybug #1 and Ladybug #2. I painted the ladybug series on six inch by six inch canvases. For such a small creature, I felt 6×6 was the perfect size. I love ladybugs and had been wanting to paint one (or more) for quite some time.
I came across a really good deal on some small canvases and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to buy 24 of them. When my shipment of 6×6 canvases arrived, I thought this was the perfect time to paint the ladybugs. Before these two particular paintings it had been quite some time since I last painted on such a small canvas. It was a lot of fun and it didn’t take any time at all to finish it.
Now About The Ladybugs!
Ladybugs are wondrous little creatures! They are sometimes called lady beetles or ladybird beetles. They most commonly come in the colors of red, yellow and orange which fades as the beetle gets older. Some species have black spots while others have black stripes and still others are a solid color with no markings at all. Their bright colors serve to warn birds they don’t taste good.
Surprisingly there are over 6,000 different species of this particular insect. They are beneficial insects because ladybugs eat other insects like aphids that often damage agricultural crops and garden plants. As such, ladybugs are often grown commercially and sold to farmers and gardeners.
The life cycle of a ladybug consists of four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Depending on the species, female ladybugs may lay as many as 1,000 eggs from spring to early summer. It usually takes four days for their eggs to hatch.
For centuries wildlife and animal art has been a favorite genre of artistic expression that attracts a huge following of artists and aficionados who love animals. In fact it is so popular, that art societies, exhibitions, competitions and galleries have formed which are devoted to the cause. Wildlife paintings are such a well loved form of wall art that fine artists and photographers have captured the beauty of animals out in the wild and nature for everyone to enjoy.
Everyone loves wildlife artwork and here are seven reasons why:
1. Animal art is easy to find and purchase. Since wildlife paintings are such a popular form of art, many artists have depicted animals in all forms of their wall art. As such, wildlife works of art are in abundance. It is easy to find such paintings by visiting art galleries, craft fairs, artist’s studios, home décor stores or online art websites.
2. Wildlife paintings look great hanging on the walls of your home or office. This genre of art goes well with just about any décor. It is a great way of bringing the great outdoors into your home and put on display for visitors and family to enjoy. Those who are physically challenged and can’t get outside as much as they would like will especially appreciate animal paintings as these will give them a sense of being outdoor.
3. Wildlife art is a great way to start a conversation. Animals are so interesting and there is such a variety of life in the animal kingdom you will never lack something to discuss. When visitors come calling your animal art can be a great way to get a good conversation going and keeping it going for hours. What a great way to pass the time!
4. If you are the type who loves to be out in nature with wildlife, then animal paintings are a great way to re-live and reminisce about memorable trips to the zoo, hunting trips, safaris or other adventures out into the great outdoors.
5. There is such a variety of creatures in nature that can be featured in paintings of wildlife. Mammals, fish, insects and birds. Among these can be domestic animals such as pets or livestock or wild animals. Animal artwork can be portrayed as realistic, abstract, cartoonish or anything in between. There is simply something for everyone, young or old, regardless of gender.
6. Many individuals enjoy having portraits painted of their favorite pets. Pet portraits are an excellent way to remember a beloved pet that has passed away and helps to keep his/her memory alive for years to come. Some just enjoy having a painting of their pet to adorn the wall of their home or office. Click for more information about how to commission a pet portrait of your pet.
7. Wildlife paintings make wonderful gifts because everyone loves wildlife art!