A Brush with the Ants!

Watercolor-yellow paint-brushesDead ants in yellow watercolor paint. A half-eaten No. 3 sable brush. It’s a sad, sad mystery.

I first discovered a few ants crawling on my paint palette last week. This week, as i was holding my brush to pick up some yellow paint, i was shocked to discover tiny dead ants half buried in it. It had never happened before. I can understand why the yellow sun birds kept visiting our yellow bell plants, but why do these black ants like only the yellow paint?

Next, i picked up my favourite No.3 brush to paint finer details of the painting “God is Love“. As i loaded it with water and pigment to paint the stigmas, i found i couldn’t load the brush to a fine point. Puzzled, i took a closer look. To my horror, i saw that the brush had jagged bristles that looked ‘half-eaten’ and several had already fallen off onto the paper! Since i only have several brushes, i used whatever i had to finish up the painting. This affected my subsequent ‘wheelchair’ painting too.

Brush and dead antsI still haven’t solved the mystery of the ants and the brush. I read that moths can destroy brushes, but in our country, we hardly see moths. Do ants or even unseen cockroaches nibble on brushes too? Now, i am at my wits’ end trying to figure out how to avoid future damage. Strangely, i have never encountered such problems since i picked up watercolor three years ago. Until now.

Incidentally, the ants are called ghost ants because of their transparent legs and abdomen. They are only 1.3-1.5 mm long. If i paint them any lighter they would be invisible except for their dark heads and thoraxes. I never knew i had to study and scrutinize ants under a magnifying glass till today.

But… Praise be to God! I enjoyed painting his tiny little creatures.  🙂        By R

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2 thoughts on “A Brush with the Ants!

  1. You may know this, but watercolor paints typically contain either honey, corn syrup, or some other sugar as a humectant. This helps retain moisture in the paint. Maybe some paint was left on the brush hairs and the ants nibbled it for that?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi! i have just discovered i’ve not been sending out all my replies correctly, so no one knows i’ve replied. How embarrassing! Thank you once again for your kind comment. This was the reply i sent to you on 1 March:
      Oh i see! Thank you so much for the information. I was puzzled why they only like the yellow paint. I am taking extra care when washing my brushes now. You have an interesting blog. God bless you and your blog.

      Liked by 1 person

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