Culvert Operation

Culverts were my friend, when I was a kid. You know, the big corrugated steel tubes that kept spring run-off under the local dirt roads, rather than washing out through them. In summertime they were wonderfully cool and echoey, half full of water, surrounded by cattails and home to polliwogs, leopard frogs, water skimmers and... dragonflies. Flying jewels, in iridescent blue or green or even bright red. Scary big sometimes, and sounding like a jet engine if one buzzed too close to your head, particularly if you were distractedly daring each other to go through the culvert to the other side. (Which none of us ever actually tried, least of all plump, claustrophobic me.)

I'm not sure why it took me so long to try them on pots, beyond the occasional tiny one distracting a duckling on teapots, but it finally took a special order, plus a photo-essay full reference pictures from an old wildlife magazine, to get me to take them seriously as a pattern. My palette is best suited for blue and green darners, though the pied skimmer, with bronzy patchwork wings, looks pretty wonderful too. Since I've only just started painting them, look for them on pitchers, bakers and serving bowls; I'm also experimenting with a multi-flying sugar bowl with dragonflies and butterflies.

Don't know how popular they'll be, but the buzz is good...