I’m writing this blog on Saturday night wearing warm fuzzy pajamas while watching the snow fall …. at the end of March. I’m trying not to be bitter about this, but at this point I’m nearly frantic for spring. Since it’s definitely not warming up outside, I’m daydreaming of the warm, mellow days of spring that slowly melt into the sultry nights of summer. As the last rays of sunset are engulfed by twilight, the stars begin to twinkle, nocturnal insects start their serenade, and fireflies dance to the music. In the light of a pale full moon, a delicate winged luna moth flutters out of the forest and lands, feathery antennae sampling the air while the wind gently ruffles the luminescent wings.
Now before you start to wonder why I’m so obsessed with moths this year (because of the other two posts I’ve done so far) let me explain that I’ve had no control over the themes set by the blogs I follow. However, I’m not complaining at all about another month to explore moths in my art. I thought perhaps I had exhausted my moth muse during Jan and Feb, but when the March theme for Art Elements blog was announced as luna moths, I decided I’d love to spend more time with the enchanting creatures.
This first piece does double duty for another challenge. But it fit perfectly since it features a luna moth illustration on faux tin. The illustration and tin pieces were made by Humblebeads.
I call this one “Luminosity”. The design is simple to keep the focus on the beautiful illustration. I just added a large stone agate bead that reminded me of a full moon, and a few pale aqua glass beads. And here are the matching earrings.
Luna moths are the most ethereal of night creatures. The very moon itself seems to be infused into their wings. They are among the larger of North American moths and are found throughout the eastern continental United States and up into Canada as well. Adults emerge in May/June and can produce 1-3 generations during their breeding season, depending on the climate. The female lays 200-400 eggs at a time on the underside of host plant leaves and eggs hatch in about two weeks. They exist 6-7 weeks as larvae and then as 9 months as pupae. When they emerge from their cocoons as the beautiful pale green moths, they only live for one week more, to mate and lay eggs. Adult luna moths don’t even have mouths to eat because they don’t live that long.
This second piece of jewelry is a tribute to the life cycle of the luna moth, called “Emergence”.
I wove a wreath of antiqued wire to look like a nest of branches found in a forest. From the wreath dangles a luna moth cocoon made of polymer clay by Humblebeads along with brass and glass charms.
The earrings are made of polymer clay beads designed to look like luna moth wings (these are also made by Humblebeads), Czech glass beads and brass moth charms.
My third jewelry piece inspired by luna moths is called “Midnight Flight”. It features a polymer clay pendant by Humblebeads, pale aqua Czech beads and leaves, ceramic rounds, and gold spacers.
I wanted to also explore using luna moths in paper crafting. However, I was surprised to discover that while I own many butterfly stamps, I don’t have a luna moth. Nor could I find any images or stickers of luna moths in my stash or at local craft stores. (Apparently the rest of the world is not as crazy about moths as I am). I tried every way I could think of to find something premade, but in the end, I was cornered into drawing moths by hand… and I don’t draw. I practiced studies of moths and one of those was this piece that I decided to watercolor (another technique I have no experience with).
I did the moth first to see how it went and my original plan was to cut it out and use it in a different project. But then I decided to add in a moon and a background and ended up keeping it intact. I did the watercoloring with pencils and added in highlights with a white gel pen. Considering my lack of experience with these mediums, I’m rather delighted that the piece came out recognizable as a luna moth.
Inspired by my reasonable success with free-handed drawing, I returned back to my first intent – which was to create a small canvas of a luna moth in flight.
For this I drew and cut out the moth three times – once on white cardstock and twice on vellum. I drew in the details and colored all three with chalks and white gel pen. I painted the canvas with black paint, let dry, and painted in the moon. I printed out the quote and colored the edges of each word with Distress crayons. I gave the canvas a wash with silver pearlescent glimmer sprays and splattered it with watered-down white acrylic paint to give it more dimension. Then I adhered the quote and moth. I wanted it to feel whimsical and ethereal – almost like you had walked outside and surprised a fairy by the light of the moon.
And really, what could be more magical than spying a luna moth in flight on a warm summer’s night?
Please visit the brilliantly talented artists who participated in this challenge!
Art Elements Team:
Blessings to you,