Public Enemy Number One for the Michigan Artist

I love to paint plein aire, or on-site, landscapes. I recently moved to Michigan from Texas, where I congratulated myself frequently for my ability to sit in the hot (110 degree) sun and paint under conditions where the turpentine would evaporate in minutes, even in the shade. 

I looked forward to painting the lush greens of Michigan. I waited through one of the longest, coldest winters that even the old-timers here could ever remember (yes, at 20 degrees below zero, your snot really freezes, I discovered when I ventured outside to get wood on a cold February day). 

Finally, after forever, the piles of snow melted, the slush and mud came and dried, and then the beautiful weather started. I grabbed my brushes and paints, and ran outside to paint the wonderful yellow greens all around. 

ImageImmediately, I was swarmed and attacked by clouds of the creature on the left (this is a public domain photo of a mosquito). You may believe it is enlarged, but the mosquitoes in Michigan are much larger than…normal. And after the long cold winter, they are very hungry. 

I tried Deet, Raid, repellant bracelets, Deep Woods Off, and the mosquitoes laughed at it. And each time I venture out to paint, I get covered with welts – dozens. I have tried eating garlic, Vitamin B, spraying myself with Citronella, all to no avail. 

I now paint the scenes outdoors from inside. And now, I wait for the time when the mosquitoes leave, which I understand will be in the fall, when the temperature drops again. This proves that no matter where you live, there are challenges to overcome – and the Michigan Mosquito is certainly one for local artists. 

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