What a wonderful surprise. I stepped outside to ask hubby what time he would like dinner and noticed some little black round droppings about half a cm long on the path. I immediately knew that these were deposited by the beautiful Privet Hawk Moth caterpillar, and there it was, sitting calmly and quietly on a privet twig (because I had disturbed it when I stepped outside). Just wonderful – a really tingly feeling from my childhood. The text below is from the introductory page of my limited edition hardback diary for 2019, and when you read it you will realize why it is “tingly”:
“I paint so that people can enjoy the natural world from their comfy armchairs, especially if they are unable to go out and see wonderful nature themselves. How fragile is life on our earth—please look after it.
The execution of some paintings is like giving birth: a struggle whilst in progress but a great feeling of elation once born. There are hundreds of paintings in my head all welling up to be born. Mother Nature and her flora and fauna have always fascinated me; my earliest memory at about age five is collecting big, fat privet hawk moth caterpillars from our privet hedge and putting them in jam jars, then when they turned brown I knew it was time to free them so that they could bury themselves in the earth to pupate and await rebirth as beautiful moths. Sadly, one has to look very hard to find these beautiful insects these days, and it is the loss of such things that drives me on to paint, in fine art, all those things I can still see today, which perhaps for my great-grandchildren, will not be around.
I also feel strongly about people not knowing what flowers and animals look like. This is the main reason why, when I decide to paint a particular subject, I first find out about it, see it in person, get a feel for it, and then try to paint it exactly as it is in its proper environment. Both children and adults who view my work can immediately recognize the real thing, if they are afterwards lucky enough to see it in real life.”