The splendidly named little paper wasp, just as I saw it on the wall, turning to give me that curious unblinking stare. They have been very busy with the arrival of warm weather but, as I am not a paper wasp aficionado, I am not entirely sure what they are doing. There is quite a bit of jostling and shoving and lots of staring, which is what wasps seem to be particularly good at.
Close up these insects look weighty and armour plated when in reality they are airy creatures, floating delicately around the bushes like tiny leggy fairies doing good deeds in the garden.
I, as much as anyone, am quite nervous about wasps and, until I started drawing them, was rather repelled by them. But as you study them, their intricate and beautifully designed body structure, a waist and a length of leg I would die for and their handsome beautiful marking, you just have to learn to admire them. And that is before you even start to wonder just how they build those fragile and extraordinary nests.
A couple of stages of the work;
Viva la avispa magnifica!
Watercolour on Arches HP.. wasp size, a huge 5.5 inches. (I am really glad they are not this big in real life.)
15th FEB: Update… Thank you to Floria Mora for including this little wasp on her doctoral thesis poster. She has been studying the behavioral ecology of this wasp as a model system to discover how plastic their colonies are to the environment and social interaction. For a larger version of this poster please see here.