tale of a hawk moth

moth

You landed on my screen door to get photographed and drawn, didn’t you? I ask the striking creature / bug / moth that clings to my screen door one early morning, last week. It’s there all day and doesn’t seem bothered while we enter and exit. First thing the following day, I go to the door and sadly – it’s gone.

Liz, a friend who lives in California, sends a text – Is this the same kind of moth you had on your door yesterday? Did my moth fly to California overnight to visit Liz? One can think that with the photo that is attached.

ResizedImage_1398701161350

I learn (via Facebook where I’d posted the photo) it’s a Hawk Moth. It flies like a hummingbird, Dave writes. Donna comments it’s a White Lined Sphinx Moth an important pollinator, especially of my neighbors Sacred Datura. Nature is amazing, says Nancy. And as though reading my mind Dominique notes … as your reputation spreads among the arthropods you will surely encounter more six-legged friends. Just keep the screen doors deployed. And it’s unanimous – Yes! It arrived to be drawn.

After more reading : I conclude the reason it left at night is because it’s nocturnal and if it did go to California, it did so because it can go without eating for long periods of time.

Here is the Hawk Moth.

IMG_5997

The questions at the start: Do I focus on the external design of the moth? Do I try to include internal anatomy?  I do a bit of both.

IMG_6002

I include its larvae (and anatomy) which is medium to large with a stout body.

IMG_6000When complete the organs I include make it appear like some sort of wired, electrical moth. I’ll leave the wings as they are – dark, dense and lined. And furry – the moth appears to have hair – but in fact it has scales and they keep it warm as it flies at night.IMG_5999

I talk to Robin, a neighbor, and I tell her about the great moth at my door. She looks horrified. I guess some people find them creepy. I don’t. Though I learn something that I’ll keep from her – some Hawk Moths can have a tongue as long as 14 inches. Not this one, I’m sure.

…one more composition for the bug exhibit.

today i am a fly

Today I am a fly – it’s all I could think while painting the one image below.

IMG_5965b

Fly (detail) – casein collage on panel, 8 x 8″

From the start of this bug series, I want to paint a house fly. Here is what I know: flies carry over 100 pathogens, they feed on liquid or semi-liquid substances besides solid material (softened by saliva or vomit), and they deposit feces constantly, their entire body is covered with hair (like) projections, and the female is bigger than the male.

Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis come to mind.

I work on the small 8 x 8″ for a good while, but it’s good to be done. I don’t want to be a fly anymore.

Below is a detail of the grasshopper I painted. I don’t know why I didn’t post it before. I painted it for its symbolic association – one who has much to learn.

I also learn I should always photograph a work before I varnish it, otherwise the sheen interferes.

IMG_5981

Grasshopper detail , varnished casein collage on panel, 10 10″

Certain I was only going to make 4 works for this invitational exhibition. I woke up early to organize this post and when I open my front door, this sits on  the screen at eye level – a beautifully symmetrical moth – I am told it’s a hawk moth. Has it arrived to be drawn? I wonder.

While contour line, pattern and texture of the insect are alluring, I would want to include its anatomy. That seems like a challenge.  I’ve already gotten back to my figure studies, but this bug show is not for a good while. I have a few more small panels. I might find time for another bug.

sphinx