Welcome to MissouriBendStudio!

This is an online journal of my artistic investigations and a way to communicate about my work, ideas, quandries and queries! I welcome comments and conversation and do hope you enjoy these musings. My artwork is available in my shop MissouriBendStudio on Etsy.com or on my website.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mapping The Trail, Drawing Lessons From The Moth World

Hi everyone. Back mid-week with some updated images of the latest developments in my mapping endeavors.  Turns out the biggest leaps were made with the inspiration from a recent, quite fascinating post found here on Paper Ponderings, the delightful and highly recommended blog of Fiona Dempster.  The larvae of a certain moth leave a trail as they burrow in the bark of the eucalyptus tree and it looks like the most exquisite line drawing I can imagine.  So many simultaneous thoughts ran through my head as I first looked at the images on Fiona's post. First, a kind of artistic jealously, as I so wish I'd made those marks, immediately followed by a "fall on your knees" kind of humbling, to realize the drawings were made by moth larvae. And then I was struck by the notion of the trail, that we each leave a trail, literally as we walk about and travel from place to place, room to room throughout our day, but also metaphorically in the accumulation of our days. And maps, in a sense, provide a way to retrace the trail...to find our way to or from. In forging new territory, we create the map, the visual trace so that we can see where we've been and share our stories with others.

Below are the same two map drawings that I showed in my last post, now with another layer of line work (in humble imitation of my drawing hero, the Scribbly Gum Moth) further embellished with dots in ink and acrylic paint.

It occurred to me as I was drawing these lines how very convoluted the trails were, if  they were indeed a path from one landmark or rock outcropping to another. But, on the other hand, how appropriate, as it's really about the journey and maybe the most expedient path from A to B isn't the most interesting or the most rewarding.  

I found several larger sheets of really nice Japanese paper in a tube in my studio (much better than the paper I'd started these first experiments on) and began a new piece layered with a teabag in each section....so far, just the line work.  I've been so busy and preoccupied the last couple of days, I haven't gotten back to this piece yet, but tomorrow is a work day!

A big thank you to Fiona for that lovely post....hope you'll follow this link if you haven't already, and while you're there, peruse all the other wonderful entries....you'll be hooked!

See you soon....thanks for stopping by!!


  1. Both Fiona's and your work is beautiful. I wonder what the moths would say if they could talk?

  2. How poetic and insightful Patti. Thank you for your words of inspiration. I too have seen the larva trailings on wood under bark but your musings go far beyond my shared love of these marks and textures.

  3. Thanks for the lovely mentions Patti - but your work is stunning! I'm so glad I posted on the scribblybarks; what a delightful and fruitful result! the marks work so beautifully with the rocks and the maps and the teabags - all of it is gorgeous.

  4. I thought just the same as you when I saw the moth trails... I wish I had drawn that! They are very inspiring, and I love your own journeys too.

  5. This is so Zen-like-- to be inspired by such a small humble creature as moth larvae, wonderful!

  6. I too was struck by Fiona's post. I am so glad you were able to turn it into artistic inspiration! I wonder what my daily trails would look like - or the pattern of my path recorded for a month, a year, decades? And what of our other invisible journeys up and down, in and around the corners of our inner landscapes? Such food for thought...many thanks for sharing!

  7. Thank you all for the wonderful comments on this post! Sorry to be so late to respond to you...it's been a busy time, which I'll tell you more about in my next post today or tomorrow! Thank you for being such a great support and inspiration...each and every one of you!

    Carole....thank you! Yes, to know what a moth would choose to communicate....or even tell us about the tracks they leave!

    Lorraine....glad you found these musings interesting! Those interesting marks are left on all kinds of bark and trees, but I thought these were particularly striking and I saw them at the perfect moment!

    Fiona....thank you! Hope I've introduced your wonderful work and blog to some new folks! I appreciate your kind words about these recent pieces and thank you again for that wonderfully well-timed post!

    Helen-S...so striking those moth drawings....thanks for your kind words about my map pieces and taking time to comment!

    Donna....thank you....a reminder to be aware of the traces left behind everywhere. Those are the moments when the past, the present and future all feel as one! Great to hear from you!

    Gabriella/TT: Yes, I have a feelings the maps of those inner journeys are going to find their way into the work in some form or another. I'm also aware of the maps I make in my to and fro paths about the house during the course of the day....we are all mapmakers!


I'm happy to hear from you...comments and questions are welcome!