Friday

The Wolf Spider




My son Max has a great fondness for Spiders... I believe he could identify almost any spider that was put in front of him and if not, I know he would soon find out..... One of his favourite species are the Wolf Spiders... He likes their habits and has taught me all I know about them... things like, they don't spin webs.... or make a nest or shelter.... they hide out in leaf litter by day... and are active hunters at night....

They have 8 eyes... 4 large and 4 small... and have excellent eyesight... their markings are varied containing stripes, bands, dots.... they have lots of hairs ... coloring is in the range of gray, brown, and khaki... ¼" to 1½" long... habitat is widespread... worldwide...

...the males perform a courtship dance of leg-lifting for the females... she only accepts him if she likes his dancing... now there is an amusing way of selecting a partner.........

hey, when I come to think about it, maybe we are not that different......... Bet you never knew we had something in common with a spider...

anyway, back to the story...





Max is forever lugging one of these spiders around ... watching one closely... or playing with one.. in the summer that is... of course, I'm dreaming of summer 'round about now...

When Max was learning at home, I let him learn about whatever he wanted... I had no classes... he set his own learning style... I let him indulge his interests as long as he wanted... he would spend hour after hour out in the fields, and he got to know nature close up... he was constantly showing me the things he would discover... It is such a great way for children to learn...






I must admit, I like Spiders too... I would never purposely kill a spider... they are so little and delicate.....

Spiders are beneficial insects... eating many pests such as aphids and flies.

If you have ever seen a spider carrying around its large egg sac attached to its rear spinnerets, that was a Mother Wolf Spider.... They don't bite humans... They are shy and prefer to run away if disturbed...

One thing I can never figure out is... why are people frightened of spiders?.... of course I do not live in a part of the world that has poisonous spiders or I would probably be of a different opinion... around here there is no need to worry about them at all... so why????

... and also... why are people afraid of spiders webs? they are amazing structures...... I mean why in the world would anyone be scared of webs?...................ahhh, the mysteries of Fear....






...can you imagine if you had 8 eyes and 8 arms, what you could accomplish...


...remember when you wished you had eyes in the back of your head.......... I do...






...Wolf Spider watercolors from my sketch book... approx. 4"x 4" each... pen and ink and watercolor wash...

45 comments:

Chris said...

I love your wolf spider painting. The ones we have in Wisconsin are twice the size of the ones I grew up with in Illinois. Nature is so fascinating in it's diversity. On another note, I wish I would have checked out my husbands dancing before we mated. lol

Pam said...

Wonderful illustrations. You are so clever. I must admit I like spiders too. I'm the only one in the family who does, so I'm the one who has to catch them and take them outside, so that they live to see another day.I am selective though. We have some very poisonous spiders here in Australia.

pRiyA said...

hahaha for the spider courtship dance gwen. i love spiders and even more, their amazing webs. i am sending this post to a friend who dreads spiders. hopefully she might change her mind after a reading.

i am intrigued that you home schooled your son. i know for a fact that such children are incredibly creative as i am sure Max must be. his sounds a bit like Gerald Durrell's childhood. i think such children are blessed and fortunate.

after seeing the simple and elegant way you use watercolour and ink, i am trying my own. not always successful after years of using a direct medium like pastel, but i am getting there...

summer is here in full blast and i am wilting and sluggish in this heat.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Spiders - I am not scared of them but I must say when I came to your site, something went awry and the first thing that came up on the screen was your wolf spider - it filled the screen and it certainly made me jump!
It is lovely when children are fascinated by them - that means one young man who will grow up with no fear of spider at all.
So pleased to have found your site -
that part of the world means so much to me.

Ruth said...

I don't kill spiders. I pick them up with a tissue and let them outside.

Spiderwebs are amazing out in the meadow. My favorite is after a rain when the sun comes up in the morning bright and clear, and the goldenrod or queen anne's lace are speckled with raindrops with the sun turning it all to diamonds. Nature's art.

I didn't realize wolf spiders don't spin. That makes me feel better, Gwen, since I don't either. :)

Shelley said...

Good morning Gwen,
Dancing in courtship - Familier. Wishing one had eyes on the back of our heads....do our kids not think that we have them now?
Spiders are interestig to watch, however, I confess I enjoy their webs much more (except when they are left where one walks through them). Perhaps that is why peeps fear their webs, it's from walking through them.
Whereas I am short, I often walk beneath such creations; however, I do know a particular individual who almost walked into a web on more than once down your way.
As always, very informative Gwen!

Dave King said...

This is absolutely fascinating. You have me hooked - you and Max. Congratylations to you both!

shicat said...

Gwen, a few summers ago I discovered a beautiful yellow and black spider sunning itself in it's web on the my Holly bush. I think it was a harmless,helpful garden spider? It was quite large with a leg span of over an inch? Maybe Max knows???? thanks

Deborah Carr said...

Gwen, in your typically gentle, humourous way, you've again shown us that all creatures have such a fascinating story...we need only let curiosity be our guide...pause, listen, observe.

I wonder if you have read, "Last Child in the Woods", by Richard Louv. The most important book of our generation, I do believe. Of course, Max is already living such a life...growing and learning in the palm of nature's mysteries.

What a wonderful gift you have given him.

Shayla said...

That is a wonderful way for children to learn. I love it when they get fixated like that.

Beautiful spider, Gwen. I think so many of our fears are conditioned. Horror movies, probably even the really cheesy ones play a role in it.

When I was little a family friend used to tell me something beautiful about dewy spider webs: they were fairy's washing hung up to dry.

(ps- i've tagged you, no obligation)

Guillaume said...

My wife is terribly afraid of spiders, I always have to get rid of them. I don't kill them as my wife wouldn't allow that (she is vegetarian see, and for ethical treatment of animals, even the ones she is afraid of), so I have to throw it outside or in the nearest neighbour's pot plant. I don't know why people are scared of spiders, I think it is a number of associations: poisonous ones looks basically like the normal ones, so our mind does not make the difference, the fact that spiders usually hide in the shadow, are predators (humans are naturally wary of predators), build an elaborate trap for their victims just associate them with "the unknown", which of course is sinister and dangerous, they are also reknown for eating the male of the species (mating is quite a challenge for male spiders), etc. They are also of an unusual shape (like snakes, another poisonous creature usually disliked), which makes them all the more sinister. A former literature teacher of mine used to tell us that spiders were reminiscent of the female genitalia and the devouring aspect of feminity.

flyinamber said...

I don't kill spiders..I love them and also can't figure out why are people frightened of them..I also like the structure of spider web..one of most beautiful nature pictures is the web with dew drops in the sunrise..
here with us in Croatia lives only one dangerous spider species known as "the black widow" but it lives down on the Adriatic coast..and every emergency has the antidote so I'm not afraid when I go to the vacancy there..
and of course,your drawing is wonderful!

Bill Evertson said...

I used to be deathly afraid of spiders but overcame it because my wife found it a little too humorous for my self esteem. On one of our last trips to Central America we stayed at the Caves Branch jungle lodge and were treated to nightly parades of tarantulas (which I believe is a type of wolf spider-I'm sure Max would know) They were so fascinating I ran through a lot of film. Beautiful watercolors!

MamaShift said...

I like how your blog is evolving over there on the sidebar.

Spiders, huh. I'll have to work on that.

Debbi said...

I too love spiders, and will go to great lengths to save them. They are allowed to live in my house. I love finding those big web weavers in the garden, they build a big web with a zig-zaggy stripe up and down the middle. Your pen and inks of the wolf spiders are lovely, as usual. You have such a nice way with line and wash.

rauf said...

i copy Ruth, i do the same, look for the web right after the rain and you'll have a design for a diamond necklace Gwen.
A few years ago before our house was demolished and rebuilt, i was watching a spider and the web. i took pictures, and i kept watching every morning. Then there was rain and a cyclone. the asbestos sheet roof of my neighbour and a heavy cement sheet covering the water tank were blown away But this spider's web remaind intact. Still haven't posted the pictures Gwen.

We have lessons all around us and we refuse to learn from them. Max is going in the right direction.

Anet said...

Once when I was sitting under a hanging plant I felt something land on my head. Thinking it was a leaf, I brushed it off into my lap. No leaf, a wolf spider! You could hear my scream for miles. I'm not really too afraid of spiders, just big fuzzy ones on my head:0
Noah is always asking me "How did you see me?" I tell him about the EYES in the back of my head. He says "that's creepy!"
Have a great weekend Gwen!

Cuidado said...

Hi Gwen. My daughter who's 25 now has been terrified of spiders her whole life. No one in any of her family are afflicted as such but her fear was real. Being her mother I saw it firsthand. I wish I knew why as well. I have a fear of snakes that is just as terrifying to me and though I've visited, studied, touched and held snakes, I have a shivering fear of them.

Debbi said...

I don't think I'd want eyes in the back of my head, however. I'd see all the things people do when they think I'm not looking and I'm not sure I'm up for that! LOL

Gwen Buchanan said...

First of all... I am Overjoyed that most all of you like Spiders!!! Yes!!!


Thanks Chris, That"s funny.. so your husband has quite the moves does he??? hard to believe but there are 3,000 different species of Wolf Spiders...


Thank you, Pam... there are quite a few poisonous insects, spiders, lizards down there, aren't there.. You are pretty brave to gather them up then... Be Careful!!


Hi Priya... We unschooled Max from age 9 to age 14 ... it was the best thing we ever did with his education and we got to spend much more time together and we are better friends.. I highly recommend it... John and I felt lucky to be able to do it as we both work at home... Max went to school in the earlier elementary years, and went back to school this year in Grade 10.. I wish I had the confidence in the early years to teach my older children at home...
I didn't know about Gerald Durrell so I just looked him up.. Thanks for the link I am anxious to read about him,.....
and Here I am way round the world wishing i could draw like you!! send some of your heat to melt our snow!!


Hi Ruth, your writing brings a sunny summer early morning to life.. I can almost breath in the freshness... No, wolf spiders don't spin, I guess they are bohemian type of spider they sling what they need on their back or their tail-end and off they go.. Hey I bet Don can spin you!!


Weaver, I'm so glad you have come by.. sorry for the shock... It is so wonderful that you have a connection to our little part of the world.. I am always fascinated by the history that is still alive in yours...


Hi Shicat.. Max says he would guess it was an Orb Weaver Spider. They are brightly colored and patterned and they like hanging out in gardens among other places.. They are really beautiful.

Seth said...

Wonderful drawings Gwen...and such interesting info too.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi Shelley, you're cute!!! Oh I thought you would relate to the courtship dancing... haha... We used to have very large gray spiders that would build webs across our door at our old place.. Their bodies would grow as big as grapes... They were very persistent.. we don't have them here on the coast... Don't think they like the summer fog.

Thanks so much Dave... I enjoy your blog very much.. I have a hard time leaving when I go there... you write about so many interesting things...

Oh Thank you so much, Deborah. I didn't know of this book but I had heard mention of Nature-Deficit Disorder in various interviews in the last while.. Yes this is something that everyone has to become aware of.. so glad you passed this on... I surely hope our education system gets the message soon.. one of the main reasons for taking our son out of school was the lack of contact with the natural world and the confining of the children in the classroom, then onto buses then to do homework then to bed... when do they have time to be children and be free... They are teaching the life right Out of the kids....we have to all get back in touch with real...
I will be getting this book for my library ... Thanks again, I appreciate it.....

Shayla.. that is adorable ..."fairy's washing hung to dry" I'll think of that each time I see one now...
yes, conditioning .. you're right..it is sad isn't it.. I think that is even scarier than spiders!!...

Hi Guillaume, I'm glad they have a friend like you... Spiders are portrayed rather like villains aren't they.. frightening little girls eating porridge... wrapping victims up in mummified casings... one species of wolf spiders after carrying around that big egg sac everywhere she goes then carrying them around on her back till they are safely big enough...is eaten by them as her last giving act of life.. Nature really can be cruel!

Thanks Dada, I love spiderwebs too.. truly they are jewels..
I didn't realize you had the Black Widow.. They are not very big to have such deadly venom... I guess these Widows are a source of ill repute for spiders in general...

Bill, Good for your wife... My oldest daughter wanted to have a Tarantula for a pet when she was 12 but I wasn't quite there yet...They are big and eat birds and frogs.. but now with all the information available I realize there are many species of tarantulas that are not poisonous... Parades of them must have been fascinating to see..

Gwen Buchanan said...

MamaShift, if I can work on snakes you can work on spiders... deal..

Thanks Debbi, You may be right, somethings are better left unseen.. have fun on the March Break... it sounds wonderful...

ah yes Rauf, That is such a statement to the strength of a spiders web... with all the research going on in the world, you would think we could create by now an equivalent fibre... or maybe we have but I haven't heard of it...

Anet, I think I did hear you... you are loud!!!... but that's ok you don't expect to find them in your hair!!! Tell Noah I can see him from here!! good weekend to you too!!

Cuicado.. well I have to admit.. The fear of snakes was drilled into me too but i am trying to make it go away... we have no poisonous ones... at least I worked on not passing it on to my kids.. My daughter when she was 4 used to pick up garter snakes that were sunning themselves in our gravel driveway, place them in her little pail and carry them around the yard.. it was tricky not to scream... but I miraculously contained myself and said isn't that a beautiful little snake.... you know it really was too..

Thank you Seth... the wonders that children teach ...
I am excited about the results of your Disintegration Collaboration... very cool idea...

Arija said...

I have always been fascinated by cobwebs and dew cups. Must have been a faerie in an other life.
The spiders of the Northern hemisphere I can enjoy, our's here however I am much more circumspect with. We have three that are , or can be , deadly: the Funnelweb, the Trapdoor and the Redback. The femake redback is just plain black and much more dangerous than the male who sports a red cross on his back.
I like to have a resident Huntsman in the bedroom in the summer, and any other room as well. A bit disconcerting when such a large soider runs across your face and jolts you awake though. I even have one in my car.
Love your post as always.

painter girl said...

Your drawing catches the wolf spider brilliantly. We have these fellows crawling around the log cabin at night. They do give me pause when we find each other in the same space because they can be so big. But i love having them in the house. Knowing that they take care of all the other bugs that plaque us in the summer.

I have to say I love watching spiders especially writing spiders but I am afraid of them crawling on me. I can be quite a wuss about it.

Gwen Buchanan said...

hey Arija... having a Huntsman in the house is rather like having a sheep to keep the grass cut.. I like natural solutions to things too.. Good for you for appreciating their usefulness... I think you're right about being a Fairy before as you notice every tiny precious thing.. Thank you!!



Wow Leanne, the writing spider is fascinating.. This could also have been the spider that Shicat saw in her garden as they are colorful and some have black and yellow patterning... I have to look more closely when I see a web next time to look for the X's and the Z's, I hadn't noticed this design before in the webs I have seen around here... I asked Max and he hasn't either... we will be on the lookout... as I know I have seen the spider sitting in the middle of its web like the writing spider does.. Thank you for sharing this...
You live in a log house.. I love them... I know several people who live in and have built there own loghomes... I have built several homes but never a loghome, although I wanted too.. Us humans need to liver longer!!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Gwen, what a beautiful blog you have! Your work is so elegant and true. I'm grateful for your comment at Wonders Never Cease and happy that it led me to you!
Becky

rivergardenstudio said...

Your sketchbook must be so beautiful. I love your musings about spiders. the way you painted this one is lovely. I like them outside, if we find a spider inside we put it out in the garden. I am dreaming of summer as well, even garden spiders... Roxanne

ArtSparker said...

I believe Freud had something to say about why people are afraid of spiders.

A video of dubious scientific merit on youtube concerning web-building

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHzdsFiBbFc&feature=PlayList&p=DA6EFCABFBBF17F4&playnext=1&index=56

Laura said...

As soon as I saw the spider picture on the blog list of i love black and white, I had to come visit you...I have a healthy respect for spiders (I don't fear them), they're quite awesome creatures and are welcome in my home and garden. I was photographing a small one on my bedroom wall the other night(not sure what kind it was), the lamp light and the shadow were perfect, tho' the pictures turned out blurry (I'll find a creative way to use them)...I love your blog and John's blog too!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi Rebecca, I have a wonderful party time when I visit your blog.. I'm glad you are there!!! Thanks so much for touring mine!!

Hi Roxanne, Oh well I think my sketchbook is rather messy.. I kind of get carried away and my sketches get all on top of each other quite often... Oh I am sincerely dreaming of summer too... Please come soon..

Hi ArtSparker.. I'll have to check out Freuds thoughts on the subject... I think John or max joyfully pointed me in this silly videos direction last year.. I see you are as crazy as them.. good to have crazy people!! Thanks..


Hi Laura, Thanks for visiting.. I went over and had a great tour of both your blogs.. very cool art.. Sounds like the low lamp light and the shadows are the perfect combo for spider photos.. Can't wait to see what you do with it.. no pressure tho..??

BLACK AND WHITE said...

I really love your Wolf Spider painting! Fantastic post!

Sandy said...

Love your spider. I just love bugs, to look at, in drawings/paintings. I don't know how many Glorious Beetle and dogbane beetles I've saved off to draw, but haven't done it yet.

Robyn said...

I wouldn't say frightened but very wary. We'v all ended up at the doctors with bad spider bites causing high temperatures. My mum and I were bitten by Violin Spiders. Their bites grow into big suppurating wounds with the flesh dying around it. One can lose a limb from gangrene setting in if it's not treated.
Otherwise I wouldn't mind spiders...and I do love your painting :-)

Gwen Buchanan said...

Robyn I can totally appreciate your wariness of the Spiders in your part of the world.. You must have to be very cautious when you out or maybe when you are in for that matter.. Those bites must have been terrible... How awful.. Now that would frighten me!!

Sandy, you live in a much warmer area than I do ... do you have a many dangerous spiders?...

Black and White... Thank you so much.. I guess you aren't too bothered by spiders then.. well at least this type I was posting about.. I really don't think Wolf Spiders harm humans...

delphine said...

Oh Gwen - I am genuinely lost for words, your posts are so spontaneous, warm and full of inspiring information. Blogging allows one to enter into another persons' world in a way that no other communication can. I think that we pour our hearts into our posts. I have never been afraid of spiders and, too, find them fascinating. Delphine

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Amazing drawings, Gwen. Really lovely. I can appreciate the beauty of spiders much better from the other side of the window. And I heartily agree there are few better artists than spiders. I could look at their webs for ages.
We do have poisonous ones here...tell Max we have the Brown Recluse Spider as well as the Black Widow. However, I think for me the fear is most likely based in literature. You know, that spider in Tolkien's story was pretty scary. Even the one in Little Miss Muffett would give one pause, I think.

But then again, there was Charlotte!

twisted sister said...

Hi Gwen
I am particularly fond of the Huntsman spider having shared residence with a few in the past
The cats kill all the spiders now but they still nest in my car

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi Delphine, I'm so glad to see you back from your holidays.. I'm looking forward to more of your Castle tales!!! Not many spiders in your Castles? there is so much room there it wouldn't matter... they could have a room of their own!!!


Thank you Pamela... The brown recluse's appearance rather reminds me of the Wolf spider.. I see that one would have to be very careful in areas that the Recluse resides... You must have to check your shoes... So the Violin spider that Robyn mentioned bite her, is a common name for the Brown Recluse ... They are very widespread..


Twisted Sister.. Huntsmen can get quite large.. So your Cats feel brave enough to play cat and mouse, i mean. cat and spider with them... Being a little larger would make them more fun for your cats... So do these Huntsmen dance in the backseat?

Rebecca said...

Gosh Gwen - you even manage to make spiders look and sound interesting and alluring and I'm not usually a fan! I wouldn't say I'm scared of them, I'd just prefer not to get too close to them! I do love their webs though - I think they look so beautiful when crystallized with frost or gleaming with dew. Your watercolours are rather beautiful too!

twisted sister said...

Hi Gwen
the Huntsman spiders were in Australia
Suki and Sid have to feed on the smaller English variety
but the spiders have gotten smart now and keep their distance
sadly

Gwen Buchanan said...

Thank you Rebecca... My son is so fascinated by any crawling creature that I feel that I know them all personally... Glistening Spider webs are such a amazement... It looks like they know what they're doing, doesn't it??


Ah Twisted Sister, so you are a world traveller.. I must be the only one left in the world that lives within 50 miles of where I was born! what's wrong with me? ha...
I do believe our Huntsmans are much smaller here too.. at least your kitties are safe over there!! The ones in Australia look as if they would lug away a small kitten..

Jo Horswill said...

Hi Gwen, everybody has a spider story... I have quite a few...not good ones.
I do like Daddy Long Leg spiders...but thats about it!
Your watercolours are amazing...I love the shadows you have detailed...

acornmoon said...

Hi Gwen, I keep coming across your blog and have meant to add you to my blog list for ages, now I shall do so before I forget.

I don't mind spiders at all, I found a huge one this week under the dryer. Now, if we had poisonous spiders that would be a different story!

I have just read about your beautiful quilt, the fabric that survived the fire. It reminded me of a story told to me by a bookbinder who makes fireproof boxes from paper. The paper is packed so tight that the air cannot reach the contents. The boxes he makes are for libraries that hold priceless objects, in order to test them he has to throw them onto a fire (with the valuable book inside!). Amazingly they get very singed but the fire does not reach the interior.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi Jo, sorry about the bad experience with some nasty spiders way down under.. my daughter did tell me about all the poisonous things down there.. she said she had to be careful (she is a real outdoors mountain climbing type of girl)..,,
At least the spider I am talking about wouldn't be the type that would have bothered anyone...!! I guess I was referring to many folks I have come across in my neck of the woods that really have no possible reason to be frightened by them but for some unknown reason, they are..

***

Hi Acornmoon, I love your work!!!
I really appreciate your retelling of the fireproof paper box.. they are amazing! I would love to see how that process comes to be... He is very skilled!

...one of the very strange things that survived our fire was my daughter's stamp collection.. no accounting for it....

Thanks for visiting!!!