In recognition of Moth Week (July 18-26, 2015) I painted this Crescent Moon Moth. The Latin name is Epiphora rectifascia. It is a Giant African Silk Moth and is part of the The family Saturniidae. This one comes from Africa. I was lucky enough to see this very large moth in a live exhibit at the Butterfly Rainforest at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville, FL. The Saturniidae family has always fascinated me. They are huge, and have complex markings. As caterpillars they are voracious eaters. They devour their host plants, consuming as much of it as possible before they pupate. The Saturniidae caterpillar pupates by producing silk. The caterpillar is protected inside its silk cocoon until it emerges as an adult. The adult moth is transformed without a mouth. They live up to 2 weeks and their sole purpose is to mate, find a host plant to lay the eggs on. Once this is accomplished, they die. There is no time for eating. The caterpillar does all the eating early on so it will have enough energy to transform itself into an adult and find a mate.
My technique: For this painting I ripped a scrap of Fabriano 300lb Soft Press Fabriano Artistic watercolor paper. I then soaked it in hot coffee grounds. Once the paper was dry I transferred the pencil drawing onto the paper. I then painted a thick medium brown layer of gouache (opaque watercolor). Once this was dry I did the details in colored pencil. The colored pencil was easy to use and gave me the stippled effect of the speckled look on the wings. I am experimenting and having fun!