The plant I am painting from my Menindee trip is Cullen cinereum.
To paint it I have to concentrate on it, learning about its shape, the way the leaves join the stems, the structure of the flowers and so on. I was intrigued to see this attachment. At first I thought it was the empty shell of a creature….
….so imagine my surprise and delight to see the next stage. It was not a dried, rejected casing, but the pupa of a ladybird! (This link explains the life-cycle of the ladybird.)
I identified her (hopefully correctly!) as the transverse ladybird, Coccinella transversalis. She will have to be added to my painting. She scurried around the leaves, hunting down little beasties that were lurking. Not that I could see them, but I know from microscopic work that there is whole zoo on plants.
And now to the sad part for the little ladybird. I didn’t think about her on the last day as I pressed my specimen and packed away my gear. So when I got home I was dismayed to find her, quite dead, tucked into the fold of my pencil case.
She certainly deserves her place in my painting.