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.


  1. Congrats on the accomplishment, Kris! As always, your paintings are stunning.

  2. Congratulations Krzysztof your paintings are exquisite! Honestly, I love looking at botanical art and have looked at so many artists work and you are up there with the best in the world. I read that you have been doing watercolour painting since 2012 but how many years ago did you begin your art journey? I was disappointed to read on this blog that you do not like the Arches hot press paper. After buying Anna Mason's book I bought 4 pads of it! Now I'm worried it won't be good. I haven't tried it yet and have nothing to compare it to so I hope I will find it acceptable for now. I only just got my brushes and am going to try them out today. I hope your exhibition goes really well. How could it not, your art is so incredible! Thank you again for all that you teach and share with us. You really are quite a remarkable person. Such a perfectionist and so patient. I so admire you.

    1. Awww, thay you so much Carla! :) That's so kind of you.
      It's hard to say when my art journey really started. I've had a strong connection to art since I remember. I've always been painting in my free time and it has always been my hobby. I used to painted a lot with poster paints and I had no idea there were watercolors out there. Later I used oil paints and I painted several paintings with oils. I also tried pastels, but I didn't really like them. I drew with pencils and color pencils. You can see some of my artworks in other mediums i the gallery on my website. But it was always, you know, not professional. When I discovered watercolors I was completely amazed by them and it was like discovering a whole new world. I already had experience with drawing so sketches were quite easy for me to make but I had to learn how to paint with watercolors, because they were totally new and different medium for me.
      Don't be worried about Arches paper! It was just my experience compared with painting on other papers. But in fact I think that when I tested Arches at that certain point of time I might have had a bad batch of this paper. I think so because literally couple of days ago I took a new block of HP Arches, with spiral binding (which I bought for testing some colors and make sketches if needed), I tried it and it was not so bad. I remember that earlier I was really dissapointed, but my new block is ok. I will paint something more on it and I'll let you know. Maybe I'll write a post about paper comparison.
      Another thing is that my style of painting is completely different than Anna's. She paints wet-on-dry and I think that's the key. I think Arches is perfect for painting wet-on-dry but worse for painting wet-on-wet.
      Really, don't worry. Just try it and see whether you like it or not.
      Thank you! :)

  3. These look amazing! Very beautiful paintings :D