Here's the illustration that resulted from yesterday's sketch. Caveat: this is an artwork, not a technical illustration! Although it's based on real references, many of the features are exaggerated or approximated.
They're not out yet, but the snow is starting to erode, and underneath, in the moist soil, in the creeks and ponds and sloughs, they're waiting, dreaming of blood… They're no-see-ums or biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae).
A friend called me to ask if I wanted to offer a scientific view of a no-see-um to an art show in which he's featuring his own, rather more fanciful, version of the bug. Sounded fun to me. The challenge was figuring out what genus the insect in my reference photo is… I think I have it narrowed down to Culicoides, but not sure.