Art & Design Magazine

Kitchen Cannibal

By Waynechisnall @WayneChisnall

Pholcus Phalangioides (aka the Daddy-long Legs Spider, aka the Long-bodied Cellar Spider, aka the Skull Spider), the subject of my latest painting, is my favorite house spider. My house/studio in Shropshire is full of the little beauties; which is odd because it wasn't until I moved to London, from Shropshire, about twenty years ago that I first saw one of these creatures. Which is starting to make me wonder if the reason that I'm now surrounded by them is that I brought them with me when I relocated my studio back up here to the Shire.  

Kitchen Cannibal

'Kitchen Cannibal' by British/UK artist, Wayne Chisnall.

One of the reasons that I like them so much, apart from the fact that they keep down the fly/bug population, is that they are content to just hang upside down in a corner somewhere keeping perfectly still for hours, if not days at a time. Unlike those big, fast-moving, hairy-legged spiders that like to startle you by running across the back of the sofa just as you've settled down to watch a film for the night. Incidentally, as well as eating bugs, Pholcusalso eats other spiders (which might account for the reason that I've not recently seen as many of the big, fast-moving buggers as I used to), even occasionally resorting to cannibalism and eating of its own species.

Kitchen Cannibal

'Kitchen Cannibal' (detail) by British/UK artist, Wayne Chisnall.

It's Pholcus's patient inactivity that makes it the perfect artist's model. This one had set up home in my kitchen, next to the toaster. I initially intended the painting to be little more than a quick oil sketch, which is exactly what the central section featuring the spider is. However, once I began I soon got a bit carried away with the flow in the lower section of the painting, playing with the paint and enjoying the emerging forms.

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