Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Butterflies of New Guinea

Tithonis Birdwings and Other New Guinean Butterflies  16 x 12 inches, Acrylic on Museum Board on Panel, 2013

I have been experimenting with various butterfly-theme paintings.  One idea -- and this is the first effort in this format -- is to paint butterflies arranged as they would be in a display case.  (There are  quite a few of these around the house, containing both local butterflies and moths and exotic ones.  They are, maybe, 45 years old, but, for the most part, are holding up well.)  I depict the butterflies life sized.  Symmetry is always a problem and butterflies with a lot of fine detail are difficult to do, although I use a needle to apply the paint.  The texture is effectively rendered, but doesn't really show up in photographs.  They also seem to look more life-like under dimmer light.  Another challenge is the background.  Here I am spent quite a lot of time on a light-color dotted background.  I may try something different next time.  (It's really impractical to have a white background, say to capture the effect of cotton batting, since white covering any large area seems to just kill an acrylic painting.)  

The butterflies in the painting are:
Top: New Guinea Rustic (Cupha Prosope), Godart's Map Butterfly (Cyrestis Acilia)
Middle upper: Tithonis Birdwing (male) (Orinthoptera Tithonis)
Middle lower: Tithonis Birdwing (female underwing) (Orinthoptera Tithonis)
Bottom: Cramer's Cruiser (Vindula Arsinoe), Red Lacewing (Cethosia Cydippe)

All are native to the island of New Guinea.

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