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.