These little ladybird beetle paintings came about after the great ladybug cloud I saw at Calaveras Big Trees State Park on Superbowl Sunday. Their orange and red carapaces send a signal to other animals that they are bitter and no good to eat, but the cheery color and their taste for aphids make them a beloved bug among people.
We also love them because they eat the scourge of our gardens: Aphids. Once some farmers were losing their crops to the little green monsters, and they prayed to Our Lady, the Virgin Mary, to intercede. A cloud of bright red bugs flew across their land and ate up all the aphids, and saved the crops. And that’s why these bright little bugs are known as Ladybird beetles.
I have a soft spot for the Virgen de Guadalupe. When I lived in The City, I often stopped at her shrine at St. Joseph’s in Mountain View. I fancied I could feel her maternal tenderness as well as feminine toughness pool in the little fountain below her image.
It pleases me that ladybugs are among Our Lady’s talismans, and in these little paintings, I’ve placed the little beetles with her flowers, as well as the crescent moon that she usually stands on, although in truth it was a brand new moon when I saw the beetles waking.
Ladybird beetle in the Circle of the Virgin
5″ x 7″ watercolor on Arches #300 hot press