May 10, 2010 in M
For some years I had an artist’s studio in a typical industrial complex – lots of concrete and steel, no lawn, a few trees and hardly an ideal habitat for munchers of dead or decaying plant matter. Yet, each winter the local millipedes decided to invade the once peaceful solitude of my studio.
Obviously art lovers, and ignoring the damp delights of gardens elsewhere, every night hundreds of them would sneakily creep under my door to see what I was up to. Everywhere I looked there they were…crawling over everything in sight! Scooping them up and then depositing them outside in a very deep drain, didn’t change a thing. Next night, same story – hundreds forcibly evicted!
What was amusing were the one’s left behind, those that I missed, and found asleep the next day on my return. Dozens of paintings stacked up against, or hanging high on walls seemed to be a favourite resting place. Nothing was damp as their want, could it be the bright colours they liked?
It didn’t seem to matter what the style, there they were, coming in their hordes to ‘appreciate’ what I had produced.(Pity they didn’t bring loads of cash with them).
One day I noticed that strange markings had appeared on a painting that I had been working on, but only on certain darker browns used – they were eating my painting! Even if I do say so myself it was a beautifully vibrant piece, painted to ambient, soothing music – a symphony of bright colour, but ‘good enough to eat’?
What on earth was going on? A perplexing mystery that baffled me for days… until I discovered that some of the paint used was made in China – and inherent vegetable dyes were the likely culprit.
From then on, each night I took the offending millipedes further away, to a lovely new neighbourhood, where they could munch away to their heart’s delight. Since then they have stayed away in droves – the word must have got around.
The painting in question was subsequently titled “Paula and Alec’s Symphony”… (and the ‘ March of the Millipedes’ ). Years later it still remains a favourite of mine.