I came across a few decent cranefly specimen whose legs were mostly intact. I'm not sure if it's the wings or the legs that fascinate me most but the legs are definitely fragile.
The eggs become larvae, commonly known as leather jackets which feed on grass roots (and similar crops).
A few years ago we treated the lawn with moss killer ... the moss recovered but the starlings stopped visiting and it was a while before I realised that they had lost their food source. I missed watching them march across the lawn encouraging the leather jackets to emerge, the tiny beak shaped holes dotted about. I learnt my lesson ... no more moss killer (or any insecticide/pesticides/fungicide for that matter).
Scratching into the graphite layers is a different style of drawing. Line drawing and hatching instead of shading, similar to silverpoint which I explored a few years ago. There was an amazing exhibition at The British Museum and a brilliant book, Drawing in Silver and Gold - silverpoint was the drawing implement of choice before pencils were invented (discovered?). It was an avenue I didn't follow at the time but I'm finding my drawing skills have evolved to more easily accommodate this approach.
The legs were a bit fiddly, but then they have a habit of falling off. I can imagine it would make a better wood engraving subject.
It's been suggested losing a leg is an easy way to escape predators, especially spiders webs. I don't think they regrow but they seem to manage with less - I will look closer this year as well as searching for ways to learn more about them.
Pete Boardman is running an online introduction to Craneflies on 23 February through Wildlife Trust BCN - check out their Eventbrite page if you're interested. I think that will be £7 well spent 🧐
The first completed Cranefly piece, Glimpse FPS018, will be on show with the Free Painters and Sculptors at Muse Gallery in Portobello Road, London from 2-20 February 2022 :
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