Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Mission completed!

I'm very happy to announce that today I've completed my mission! Five paintings for the Museums at Night 2016 in Gdańsk are ready to go. Tomorrow I'm going to deliver them to Gdańsk.

The last part of the painting was the Giant Atlas Moth (Attacus Atlas) which is the largest moth in the world. I just couldn't wait to start painting it because it is so spectacular. The ornaments on the wings are like a big jigsaw puzzle. 

I wanted to know something more about this moth and I came across some super interesting facts about it (source). Let me quote some of them:
1. It's the largest moth in the world in terms of wing surface area.
Ready for this? The wingspan of a female Atlas Moth can reach up to 12 inches with a surface area of 62 square inches. Go ahead and hold up a ruler … that’s one big bug. 
2. The word “atlas” in its name has many meanings, referring to its “mapped” patterns, “titanic” size, and the snake-tipped edges of its wings.
Many see the word “Atlas” as a reference to the bold and distinct lines that form the map-like pattern found on its wings, the different colors representing different geological formations.
A second theory is based on Greek mythology. The moth is said to be named after “Atlas,” the Titan condemned by Zeus to hold the sky upon his shoulders. The reference is more about the large size of the moth than the idea that they are bearing some sort of burden.
Lastly, in China, the Cantonese name for the moth translates into “snake’s head moth,” referring to the outer tips of the wings that look very similar to the head of a snake. You can see this very clearly in just about every photo of an Atlas Moth.
While all three theories have some ground to stand on, we think the Chinese are most on-point in their observation. Those tips sure do look like snakes! 
3. Once they emerge from their cocoons, atlas moths have a very short lifespan. 
After spending about a month in their cocoons, Atlas Moths emerge as the beautiful creatures we’ve been describing above. Unfortunately, this state is short lived as the adult moths typically die within a week or two of spreading their wings.
I really like the Chinese observation. At first I didn't even notice it but the outer tips of the wings do look like a snake's head. 

Here are some close-ups. For the moth I used a lot of Perylene Maroon PR179 and mostly four browns that I have on my palette: Gold Ochre PY42, Burnt Sienna 101, Raw Umber PBr7, Burnt Umber PBr7. For the white dots I used white tempera.

And the final painting:

Finally, I was able to frame all five paintings. 

In addition, I designed and printed business cards with my paintings.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Almost there...

My deadline is so close and today I just had to sit down and paint no matter what. This post will be very short, I just wanted to show you what I did.

I finished the leaves, althought I think I will apply one more final glaze over the leaves on the right side. They were supposed to be more shiny but I could't get this effect. Now I see they are too blue and one more unifying glaze over it should enhance it a bit. Unfortunately, in the photos the leaves look quite differently than the original. In fact they are darker.

I also took off the masking fluid from the eggs and painted them with a mix of Winsor Red Deep + Permanent Rose + some browns mostly for the main light parts and for the darker spots in the middle I used Perylene Maroon with Quinacridone Magenta and some brown + some Transparent Orange and very dark mix of French Ultramarine + Burnt Sienna + a bit of Quinacridone Purple in the centre. 

There is also this little guy at the bottom. I painted this leaf because I wanted to add the pupa of the Atlas moth somewhere and this idea seemed to be a good one. 

Now I only have to paint the moth and it will be finished. I can't wait to frame my 5 paintings and see them. I'll take a photo of them all and let you know! :)


Sunday, 1 May 2016

Juicy greens + pink tulip video

It's not a secret that my favourite color is green. Therefore, the painting that I'm working on now is very pleasing to my eyes. I finished hairy rambutans and I moved on. My next step was this fascinating fourth instar caterpillar of the Giant Atlas Moth. I've seen many photos and videos of this moth life cycle and I can honestly say that it's absolutely amazing. One of my favourite videos is made by Adam Grochowalski from Poland and you can watch it here if you like.

The fourth instar caterpillar is covered with white powder. Firstly, I painted the whole caterpillar and then I used white tempera to add powder on its body.

I placed eggs on the leaves and I masked it with masking fluid. This way I was able to paint the leaves without worrying about the little round shapes. Three days last with masking fluid on the paper and I took it off from one egg just to see whether I would have a problem or not. It came off easily without tearing the paper so I left the rest of it just in case. I'll come back to them when I finish the leaves.

Basically, I'm using three greens here:
1) Permanent Sap Green (PG36, PY110, Winsor&Newton)
2) a mix of Permanent Sap Green and Quinacridone Gold (PO49, Daniel Smith)
3) a mix of those from point 2 + French Ultramarine to make it darker. 

My three favourite and basic greens are Winsor Green (Blue Shade and Yellow Shade) and Permanent Sap Green. I use them as my base to make other greens. I like to add French Ultramarine or Winsor Red Deep to make them darker. I also love Quinacridone Gold in my green mixes. I've found it makes beautiful greens with blues.  

Here is a little tip. I don't have a brush holder and usually I lay my brush on a tissue but I noticed that the bristles sometimes deform. I took a little cardboard box in which I kept my business cards and cut out triange shapes on both sides. Now my brushes are laying still and the bristles are straight. 

I also made a video of a pink tulip lately. You can see it on my YouTube channel if you like (click here).