Kansas

R.G. Endres Gallery Two-Person Exhibition Reception and Press

Last night was the opening reception for my two-person show at the R.G. Endres Gallery with accompanying artist Kathleen Kirch! It was an extremely cold evening - but it was nice and warm inside, with lovely Prairie Village Arts Council members and local viewers in attendance.

Here are some links to press coverage for the show:
Prairie Village Newsroom
Prairie Village Voice
ArtsKCGo

And here are a few photos! I have 35 pieces on display, so if you want to see the full show you can still visit through February 27th.

Lacewing Eggs!

I noticed these odd little eggs laid in a row on my Neoregelia 'Fireball' bromeliad, and wondered what they might be.  Fortunately, they were simple to google and it turns out they are lacewing eggs!  Lacewings are beneficial insects in their larval form and are pretty much neutral in their adult stage, so I'm very happy they want to reproduce in my space and protect my plants from aphids, mealybugs, and hopefully even scale.  I've been fighting with mealybugs in several of my stapeliads and a couple other plants and scale on one of my haworthias - I think due in part to stress and lowered immunity from spending so long indoors thanks to the unusually cold April we had (the coldest in 20 years!), so this might be just the ticket to getting rid of the rest of the pests.  The Neoregelia 'Fireball' spends the summer on my front porch, but when I went to my back porch I also saw a lone lacewing egg on an Adromischus (A. rupicola is my guess, but there are a number of similar species within Adromischus and my plant supplier didn't have this one labeled and is wrong on labels around 15% of the time anyway!).  So that bodes well for lacewings frequenting both sides of my plant collection!

Some people even purchase bulk lacewing eggs (or adult lacewings with the goal of having them stick around to reproduce) as pest control, much like they do with ladybugs and other beneficial insects.  This practice of purchasing insects for natural pest control is more complicated than it might seem, though, since it can negatively disrupt the local ecosystem, and often disregards seasonal timing needs for the purchased insects and the insects' preferred habitats.  It's better if you can just encourage the beneficial insects already living in your area to feel welcome in your spaces.

Leucage Venusta, the Orchard Spider

This little friend turned up on my front porch a couple weeks ago, and it really put my camera to the test because when I call it little I mean tiny!  But look at the coloration on it - what a beautiful creature!  Leucage venusta is an orb weaver, and given my Google Images research, mine is a youngin so it should grow larger with time.  The fourth photo was taken one week after the first three photos and I think perceptible growth can be seen even in that time.

Goppert Gallery Exhibition Photos!

Here are some images of the show!  I got sidetracked by an alumna when I was walking around photographing so I haven't taken pictures of the whole of the show yet, but that just means there's more to experience if you want to stop by - the show's up through the 15th.

An image of my wall of artwork from the exhibition.

Looking at my wall from the other side.

Arilus Cristatus, The Wheel Bug

Hey, hey, I finally got to see another beneficial insect on my porch right before hauling my plants in for the winter!  This time, it was Arilus cristatus, the wheel bug.  As their ridged back portends, they are a type of assassin bug which in both its larval and adult stages preys upon aphids, caterpillars, and beetles - including my very common fall pest, the stink bug.  If manhandled, they can bite painfully but they are not aggressive and this fellow somewhat unwillingly posed for me for several minutes before flying off when I got the camera lens just a little too close.  As I was planning on bringing in my plants later that afternoon, I was OK with having scared it away temporarily; I don't think it'd be able to survive overwintering in my house.  Hopefully it'll return, though, to guard my sempervivum and sedum which spend the winter outdoors.

Finally, A Beneficial Insect Predator!

I mean, I love my spider friends, but come on - there are predatory insects, too, and yet I haven't seen one aside from wasps this whole summer around my plants... until now!  Perhaps my favorite one just showed up on my back porch: the praying mantis.  Guard away, comrade.

More Porch Insect Visitors

While most of the insects I observe in and around my plants are pests, they nonetheless possess a wide range of forms and colors that are always interesting to me.  Here are three of the latest visitors - a spotted cucumber beetle, a white planthopper, and a caterpillar who appears to be ready to turn into a chrysalis after having nommed on my Uncarina roeoesliana.  Speaking of plant visitors and pests, I will shortly be hauling all of my houseplants inside; this migration every fall always includes the accidental transfer of a couple spiders and tens of stink bugs.  I've already transported one stink bug inside when I brought a couple plants in for a particularly cold evening...

Upcoming: Solo Exhibition at the Kansas Public Library South Branch Gallery

I've got a solo exhibition coming up next week!  The Kansas City Kansas Public Library has booked me for a show at their South Branch Gallery.  The exhibition will be titled Natural Narratives.  I will be installing the show on Tuesday, September 6th at 6pm, so I'd probably start visiting it on Wednesday, September 7th despite an official opening date of September 6th.

Exhibition dates: September 6 - November 8, 2016
Location: South Library, 3104 Strong Avenue, Kansas City, KS 66106
Phone: 913-722-7400
Hours: 9-9 Mon-Thur & 9-5 Fri-Sat & 1-5 Sun

Summer Beetles

Speaking of houseplants, since most of mine summer outdoors they get frequented by a lot of insect life.  Many are non-descript, most are difficult to photograph, but occasionally I manage to digitally capture a few!  These two aren't ones gardeners particularly want to see, but hey.  They were there, I was there, my camera was there.  Behold the green june beetle, Cotinis nitida, and the Japanese beetle, Popillia japonica.