The Ant and I are friends, but only one of us has antennae. (And it is not I) Mrs. Myrmex & Homo sapi-Me share many things in life: a high degree of sociality, joy in the act of building houses, living in cities -- but, above all, we share a fondness for picnics. The perennial plethora of platters perused while planted on your posterior in the park adds an element of fresh air fun to any food fiesta. And that scented sky helps to direct legions of Formicidae to the checkered blanket by way of following pheromones with those specialized antennae! (Scent trails always stymie stealthy summer snacking)
Antenna are pretty sensational sense organs and they come in all different shapes and sizes! For one of my final introductory illustrations, I looked at the antennae of the Chinese Golden Stag Beetle. He rocks the club style, which perhaps alludes to Mr. Massive Mandible's penchant for dancing, or maybe he just thoroughly enjoys a bubbly fizz to his unflavored soda.
"Chinese Golden Stag Beetle, Eye+Antennae Close Up" (2010), pen & ink
But there is so much more to this great exoskeletonized arthropod than meeting his eye... behold the almost-imperceptibly iridescent inflections of ivy, iris, and iron emanating from that insect’s encasement! The contrasting and complementary colors abound, taking flight in the final test of technique: technicolor temperature tweaks. Since cold colors apparently recede and warm colors rise to the forefront in the human eye, this cold-blooded beast acted as the 2D canvas on which I was to play my 3D Prismacolor games.
"Chinese Golden Stag Beetle, Final Rendering" (2010), colored pencil on film
While it is true that I am jealous of the Ant and Beetle’s affixed antennae and pheromone-ferreting finesse, I rest easier at night by remembering that I wield the power of something just as awe-inspiring and painstakingly evolved to fight the battles thrown at me by the natural world: Color Vision. I am armed to perceive any and all rainbows cast in my skies, and I can appreciate every sunset that spills over my picnic blanket. Or the prisms that may pierce my pears...
"Pear Color Study, Temperature" (2010), colored pencil
Plus, if all other defenses fail, my highly dexterous fingers let me use ant-proof containers to keep all my tasty picnic food to myself. Thanks, evolution!