Fly by night

The best light show this Independence Day was the natural extravaganza of fireflies at the park up the hill. Much thanks to these folks who have inspired and supported my exploration of insects and art:

For my cheerleader in all endeavors creative, thanks to my muse, Juliet Benda Thomas.

To my dad, Howard Mastalir for constructing those first butterfly nets and driving us to parks and lakes so we could connect with nature and burn off a lot of energy. If he had an ulterior motive, we never knew.

To my mother, Fritzi Mastalir, for her example of perfectionism in mounting and displaying our family butterfly specimens, and for her introduction to costuming and sewing.

To Dad's 1961 Plymouth Sport Fury. Without that car I would not have experienced the pure terror of a moth flying up my bell-bottom pant leg while driving in the heavy traffic of Lincoln's "O" Street.

For my childhood memory of watching her gently lift a butterfly by its wings with her fingers, I am still awed by great aunt, Ada Mastalir.

To Mary R., for hanging my giant dragonfly over her dining table, and collecting my art over decades.

To my son, Steven, for opening my eyes to digital photography.

To Heather M., for introducing me to spiders and other preschool garden adventures.

To my sister, Mary Jane, for bringing her incredible energy to the task of clearing out our family home, and for sharing the discovery of hats, feathers, fabrics, and clothing in the big black trunk in the basement. Thanks, too, for encouragement to use these items in the making of new art.

For his early encouragement and scientific advice for my insect art explorations, I am grateful to TAMU entomologist Mike Merchant. I didn't even know insect art existed until then.

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