When the sky begins to turn an indigo violet the tiny bats that live in my neighborhood appear for their areal ballet. flitting, twisting, diving as they catch insects in mid air. Impossible to make out more than dark flitting shapes I am fascinated by them. These tiny mammals have conquered flight, perfected location by sonar and live in large colonies numbering in the hundreds because there is safety in numbers.
I found out that the little bats I watch every evening are Mexican free-tail bats. There are actually four large colonies of bats that can be found at four bridges in Tucson: East Broadway bridge over the Pantano Wash, North Campbell Avenue bridge over the Rillito, East Tanque Verde bridge over the Rillito and the Ina road bridge at the Santa Cruz river. It's quite a spectacle at sunset when hundreds of bats fly out from under these bridges.
Bats feed on insects or plant nectar in this area and are protected by the Arizona sate law. Other bats that can be seen in Tucson: Pallid bat, Silver-haired bat, Cave Myotis, California myotis, Yuma myotis, Western pipistrelle, Lesser long-nosed bat, and the Big Brown bat.
The endangered Lesser Long-nosed bat and the threatened Mexican Long-tongued bats are the focus and inspiration for this little Reverse Glass Painting. They are pollinators of many of our native plants and there many postcards featuring a Saguaro blossom (state flower) and a Lesser Long-nosed bat.
These nectar feeding bats migrate south for the winter in late summer and sometimes visit the hummingbird feeders when fewer than normal blooming agave are available.
|Bat Night Magic|
|Reina De La Noche|
Reverse Glass Painting is the process of painting where the painting is done with the foreground first and the background is completed last. Multiple layers of paint are used in my paintings to add depth of color and each color added can affect the color underneath, creating a jewel like quality that makes the glass artwork unique. Gold and silver is often used in the paintings to give a soft shimmer. The petals of the Reina De La Noche, Queen Of The Night, have a faint pearl gleam like the real flowers and the Sphinx Moths have gold highlights.
This painting celebrates the very magical few nights once a year where the Night Blooming Cereus outside my window bloom in white, vanilla scented wonder. Each flower blooms only on one night, once a year. Not all bloom on the same night and I have a small gathering of friends, wine and cheese by candlelight as we watch the flowers unfold.
Both of these Reverse Glass Painted artworks will be on display and available at the Tohono Chul Park Pollinators Exhibit May 31 - August 12.