watercolor, 24" x 18"
I read an article in Newsweek about cicadas in Missouri. The photos showed the insect emerging from its empty exoskeleton with soft wrinkled wings that straightened and shone as they dried. As a child growing up in Missouri, I was familiar with the brown empty shells, but never connected them with the sound of the insects or their discarded transparent wings that I found under the trees. At the library, I learned that they are called Magicicada Septendicem: "Magic every seventeen years." This painting shows the cicada under a snowball bush where I played as a child. The writing on the painting says:The nymph leaves the soil by night in the late spring,
And climbing partly up a tree trunk takes a secure hold.
Her skin then splits down the center of her back,
The cicada emerges, leaving the nymphal shell behind.