About 20 years ago, the older lad and I did a mini tour of bits of England and Wales. Mainly because I loved the John Fowles novel, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, we visited Lyme Regis in Dorset. We couldn’t find a bed for the night there, so we drove east to the next town, Charmouth. Having booked in to to a small hotel, we went for a little walk along a coastal path and came across an absolute carpet of ladybirds. I’d never seen this before but it was an extraordinary sight. We didn’t want to tread on them so we turned back.

For my birthday, my step-brother Tim and his wife Sue sent me, inter alia, a paperback book called The Salt Path by Raynor Winn.

It’s a true story based in the south west of England. There’s a passage in the book where the two main characters are camping in a field and they, too, come across a carpet of ladybirds. There are all sorts of myths associated with ladybirds and, in the story, they take this ladybird multitude as a sign of good fortune.

Well, it so happens, as anyone reading this blog will know, that I started painting on pistachio shells recently. Christine, having seen the pistachio based paintings I did last week, saved a bunch of shells for me yesterday. When I saw them, their shape shouted ladybird and so I married all the thoughts above with the shells and did this.

First, red acrylic paint (mixed with a bit of blue to make it darker – I’m getting better at mixing paints to get the colours I want). Edward suggested these looked like pomegranate seeds.

Then a little black gouache for the head, the parting in the wing case and the spots.

Then some white for the markings just behind the head, and the eyes. A background suggesting vegetation and, hey, a ladybird swarm!

I do like it when I get an idea and can carry it through. This is how I envisaged my idea turning out.

Ladybirds