As part of the Wild Art 2021 February Challenge, put on by Zoe Keller, I illustrated two pieces focusing on the theme, “Intertwine”. It’s always exciting to see how other artists interpret the challenge and create art. Some artists focused on the twisty nature of snakes, and others focused on octopus arms. Each month, I am going to try to focus on two pieces (at the very least) – one highlighting flora, the other highlighting fauna.
The first is the plant – the Clematis (Clematis sp.). Did you know that in order to get as close to the sun as possible, the Clematis Flower (also called the Queen of Vines) intertwines itself around trees or other understory shrubs! The native clematis (Clematis virginiana or occidentalis here in Pennsylvania) can often be found wrapping itself around shrubs and attract many pollinators. The shrubs provide support and a ladder of sorts for the flower to climb. The Clematis does not choke off it’s support though, like other, potentially invasive vines do.
Similarly to the Clematis, some animals need to intertwine themselves around others, or snuggle in order to survive! From mice, bats, and other small mammals who need to snuggle in the winter for warmth, to snakes who go below ground and intertwine themselves around their families for warmth, there are so many!
The Emperor Penguin survives in harsh, cold environments that can dip to -4 degrees Fahrenheit (-20C). In order to avoid freezing, the many penguins gather in tight groups to snuggle! These groups conserve energy and protect each other from chilly winds. What’s absolutely amazing is that the penguins know how to handle these huge group huddles! The ones on the outside are constantly buffeted by winds, so they move inwards, while the ones on the inside actually get too hot (the inner circle can get up to a balmy 37 degrees Fahrenheit, or 2.8C)! and move to the outer edge. This rotation continues for as long as it needs to until they need food or environmental conditions improve.
Stay tuned next month to learn more about the specialized adaptations of orchids and butterflies in the “Adapt” theme! Click below for more scientific illustrations, illustration workshops, or some new home décor!