This week’s blog is about Moths, Moonflowers and my latest artwork that I just finished called “Sunshine and Lilacs” (yeah, I’m terrible at naming my work) but feel free to help me with ideas for a better one. Anyway, I painted this one for that bit of Spring feeling that I noticed lately, with the days getting slightly longer and the appearance of Robins outside. Very soon my Lilac bush will bloom, along with all of the daffodils and the really pretty Spring fruit trees that will blossom in our neighborhoods. This new watercolor features a purple lilac bush hanging in the sun with a little hummingbird hawk moth hovering below the blossoms collecting nectar.
Painted on Arches cold press paper, the original is about 8X12 inches. I used Daniel Smith paints, mainly Undersea and Hookers green for the background and a wide variety of purples made from Ultramarine Blue and Alizarin Crimson and a bit of Dioxazine purple. Finally, some White Gauche for the sun spots to represent the dazzling sun shining through the bushes. Which brings me to the main subject of this artwork, the moth. This moth and it’s weird baseball bat shaped antenna, was the hardest part to make look right. They have hairy and fluffy fur and are so cute that they actually look like little fuzzy stuffed animals or something! These adorable bugs are Hummingbird Hawk Moths and they are found in jungle climates of North Africa. However, it’s the simple hummingbird moth that is the one found near where I live in North America, but I’ve yet to see one.
Same thing with the Moon or Luna Moth. Apparently they are only found near where I live in North America, but the reason I’ve not seen one is that they’re only alive for about a week in moth form. The rest of the time they are caterpillars. The painting I did last year “Moon Life” (Above) has two Luna moths shown in moonlight while perched on moon flowers which I have been growing on my porch for the past two summers.
Along with moon flowers, I also grow purple Iris, Calla Lily, Dahlias, Grapes, vegetables and big Green Bottle Gourds. We use the gourds in my group children’s art classes to make birdhouses. To see these lessons with step by step info, go to my website and follow the link to my “teaching children’s art” website. I would also recommend Moon flowers for moms to plant with their children because they are really cool flowers that only bloom at night, and they smell beautiful too. Aside from being great subjects for paintings, they are also very easy to grow and they really do open at sunset. You can take the big seeds from their pods and help your children plant them in spring where they’ll grow quickly. They can be planted in pots or anywhere where you can train them up a stake, trellis or porch railing. ~ A word of caution; the Moon flower is a relative of the Night Shade plant, as are tomato and tobacco leaves and are considered poisonous, so no pets or babies within eating distance of them! Although, my dog never even noticed mine. Luckily they quickly grow very high!
In addition to flowers, I love painting beautiful moths, and even more so now that I did a little research and found that they can’t bite or sting you. They don’t even have mouths, they only turn into moths to breed and then they die, which is kinda sad but special in a way. The Chinese, Spanish, Malaysian Moon Moth, and the Madagascar Comet Moon moth are even more beautiful and GIANT versions of this moth! I’m currently painting a few of those moth varieties now in progress. I also like butterflies too, but lately I’m kind of fixated on moths, which is strange since I’m really creeped out by most bugs, especially ones with long legs like grasshoppers and praying mantises. “EEW EEY ICK”
There are some even cooler looking moths that get bigger than your hand and they screech too, which is kinda creepy, like the Death’s Head Hawk Moth, (above) which I painted last year and have sold several T-shirts with this design on them. Guys like this design a lot and I could see it as a really cool tattoo. I still create tattoos for clients and family members, but I much prefer to paint now. This painting (above) was done with watercolor pencils (PrismaColors) as well as White Nights watercolor paints, which I still occasionally use along with my Daniel Smith brand. I also have some Qor, Windsor & Newton tubes and a few others that I like as well in my palette.
This beautiful painting of a moonflower bloom (Left) was painted by the famous and important painter Georgia O’Keeffe, who created huge paintings of South Western America’s flowers that really show her love of nature and talent as an artist. I’ve always loved her work having done a paper on her and her husband, famous photographer Alfred Stieglitz when I was in college. So I’ll finish this blog with a quote from her.
“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.” ~ Georgia O’Keeffe
To see my newest artworks/upcoming projects, please follow my blog or visit my website http://www.everiris.com where you can also find all my links or contact me… or just say hi!
Thanks for viewing!!!!!!