Under the Porch Light

(Work in progress.) I started this page several weeks ago after we left our porch light on all night. In the morning, a treasure trove of moths clung to the walls of the house. Little by little, I’ve added to the collection. Cooler temperatures have slowed the show, but the giant crane fly was a nice find. There’s room for more…we’ll see what September brings. Click on the image to view larger.

Tips & Techniques– I started with a light pencil outline and then painted a miniature variegated wash on each moth to establish a ground color. Once that dried, I added several rounds of details, working from light to dark. The white moths needed a pale shadow to bring them out of the white paper. Although I started with a size 6 brush, it definitely helped to have some very small brushes in my arsenal. I finished these with a size 1 and 0.

26 Comments on “Under the Porch Light

  1. These moths are really beautiful and I would not have given a moth a second glance. I didn’t even realize there were so many different ones. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Exquisite! As always, thank you for sharing your tips and techniques, it’s greatly appreciated.

  3. I Love your concept of creating a subject page, and letting it evolve as your collection grows over time – your work always inspires me!!

    • Thanks Karen- I love a subject page like this. I’m only sorry the weather is getting cooler and there are fewer moths to draw. I do hope to finish the page this month and identify what’s here.

    • It’s just starting with one color and then varying it with another color or two to get variation in the color and tone. You’ve probably done it for landscapes or skies or other subjects on a larger scale– or maybe you call it something different.

  4. Absolutely lovely – are you able to use a magnifier or anything similar? I have put larger insects on my scanner to get a good look, but I’ve been thinking about a desk glass for awhile now.

    • I do have a magnifying glass, but I didn’t need it for these because I was able to get up really close. They hung on to the porch walls for awhile. But I have also used my phone to snap a photo, which I can then enlarge to see details. I didn’t want to get too fussy with these, but it’s hard not to with moths, given the level of detail.

  5. I love these page so much! Love the idea of having them all on one spread and continuing to add to it.

    • Thanks Diana- me too! The page just sort of grows over time and there’s room to keep adding. I think the crane fly brings a fun element to the page, too. It’s less “formal” somehow. There have been a couple more I could have added today, but didn’t have painting time. Looking forward to more!

    • Yes- aren’t they astonishing? It’s kind of amazing to look closely at them and see so many patterns and species…and there have been way more than I haven’t included.

  6. Always love your posts, thank you for the blow by blow on what order you do things, your work has so much depth

    • Thanks Sue. A lot of people thing that you have to get everything down at once with watercolor, but I do several layers to build up color and form. Glad the techniques are helpful.

  7. you make such beauty out of ‘ordinary’ things..I sit and stare at spiders and their webs, transfixed..the crane fly (?) is magnificent..as are they all…

  8. What a great idea – you have gotten some beauties, too! I think we’ve had the same one, or one very similar, as the topmost moth. And we’ve had some really small pale green ones, too. These studies are beautiful, and good idea to let the page grow. Now I will wish for you a Luna moth! 😉

    • That is a very lovely wish! I have seen them, but not here yet…I don’t even know their preferred season or habitat, but it would be great to have a luna moth show up. I think that top moth is something called a large maple span worm moth. Pretty cool.

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