The Resident Mantis

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Praying Mantis

Not sure what this critter has to do with my art but these are the kinds of things that amuse me. This female praying mantis moved into my oregano bush last summer and lived there for at least a month. My husband named her 'Betsy'. We were delighted to have her. Praying mantis' have a peculiar way of checking out their surroundings and if you've ever observed one, you know what I mean when I say it seems as though they are acutely aware of humans and even curious. It may merely be a fear of being eaten but, as long as you don't poke them, they do not seem to be bothered enough to flee. They just twist that bizarrely cute head to look at you and then maybe move deeper into the shrubbery. One time I accidentally knocked Betsy off with a spray of water. She fell 15 feet to the ground below the deck and I felt terrible. The following day, however, she was back in the oregano.

She had started out very small and slim and I had no idea for awhile what sex she was. But she grew quickly and her belly swelled revealing that she was female. A few weeks later another mantis showed up and hung out for several days, maybe as long as a week. We suspected this was a male and this was finally confirmed when we saw them copulating. It was quite a sight! This went on for an entire day and then he was gone. Female praying mantis' are notorious, of course, for devouring their mates after sex but I've read that, actually, undisturbed in the wild, many males get away. We hoped he had. My husband had named him, too, although I can't remember what. Betsy stayed on for a couple weeks longer, growing ever fatter, and then she was gone, too. 

My art always portrays a natural setting of sorts, and so perhaps I can say that, even though I do not render drawings or paintings of the smaller scale life forms of nature (at least not in my fabric landscapes), I know they are there.

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