Insects in art | Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

Insects in art

Friday, 24th May 2024

Insects in art
Louisa Crispin drawing at the reedbeds © Louisa Crispin

Nature has always featured in my life, but as a keen gardener, insects were largely incidental to the plants and I often considered them pests. This changed when I began drawing in 2009: a nest in the eaves brought Tree Bumblebees and I began to draw them from specimens found in the garden. Finding the 'Insect Watch' group run by Barry Yates was a catalyst - an introduction to the experts who could help guide me through the varieties as my experiences widened. I learned how to look and share my findings, adding to the wealth of historical information used in research.

Study of a Bumblebee © Louisa Crispin

My drawings fall somewhere between observational scientific illustrations and decorative pictures, depending on my mood. I have little interest in colour - it's the underlying accuracy of structures, patterns and form that entice me to a particular subject. Although I mostly draw from specimens, observing in the field is very important to my understanding. If I’m lucky, I may see one or two fleeting examples in my garden but at Rye Harbour, I often find several capitalising on the abundance of food, returning to the same plant time and again. The 500m of path near the Reedbed entrance can often absorb me for 2 hours or more. Beneath the Willows there are ground nesting bees under the pathway, Willow Emerald Damselfly hiding amongst the branches and a plethora of Crane fly and Hoverfly lurking amongst the Hemp-agrimony.

Small White butterfly
Study of a Small White butterfly © Louisa Crispin

“Look closer” is my mantra and I hope to encourage others to do the same.

Louisa is currently exhibiting her drawings at the Discovery Centre. You can view her website, and more of her work, here.

This post is also available on Sussex Wildlife Trust website

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