Hello! Welcome to my Beetles! series. I am the behind-the-scenes photographer in the beetles department at the Natural History Museum (aka the ‘Coleoptera section of the Terrestrial Invertebrates Division’). The collection is an enormous jewel box of six-legged beauty, and I’ve got plenty of photos to share!
My favourite thing is colour, and unsurprisingly, that’s probably my favourite thing about the museum’s beetle collection. Drawer after drawer after drawer, there are beetles in shocking blues and velvety browns and luminous golds. I could never pick a favourite beetle, but I have a particular fondness for those covered in green: shimmering emerald metallics, dark mossy hues, or glossy vivid greens. Nature’s colour palette is absolutely top notch.
I’m currently working on a painting featuring beetles and foliage, and these green guys have been providing more than their fair share of inspiration. (You can see some of my preliminary sketches here and here.)
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been collecting lots of visual inspiration for my project, and have come across lots of other artists and designers who have incorporated beetles into their work, some more literally than others. See: Necklace made from real beetle wings.
Above: A close up of Derbyana oberthuri, a specimen collected in Tanzania.
Now, let me make one thing clear: there is much more to beetles than colourful exteriors. They are an astonishingly massive and diverse group of beings, and the more I learn about them, the more fascinated I become. However, just because they have Real Scientific Value doesn’t mean that we can’t admire how they look and, as the resident artist, I’m pretty sure that’s my job!
p.s. This is my first Beetles! post since June (whoops!) but that’s not because I haven’t been busy at the museum. I’ve got a set of exciting photos to reveal, but that won’t be until next month. Watch this space!