Eye Of The Beholder

It’s true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
— Margaret Wolfe Hungerford, 1878
It is only with the heart that one can see clearly, for the most essential things are invisible to the eye.
— Hans Christian Andersen, The Ugly Duckling

The other day I came across a picture of a Brahmaea Wallichii.  What's a Brahmaea Wallichii you ask? Why it's a beautiful moth typically found in parts of Asia.  According to the article, it does not fly away when disturbed, but shakes fiercely...much like myself when bothered before my morning coffee.  The distinctive 'eye spots' on its wings are striking as are all its intricate markings.  It's like a flying Zendoodle!  

Now you know the belle of the ball in the insect world is the glamorous butterfly, gliding on a gentle breeze and flitting gracefully among flowers .... rather than beating herself against a lightbulb like our lowly friend, the moth.  Maybe the allure of the nocturnal lightbulb is the moth's attempt to be in the spotlight for once, instead of hiding out in the shadows while the butterfly wows the crowd.  

So, without further ado, here is my latest canvas in which I showcase a moth, for beauty is in the eye of the beholder.


I began by constructing my moth.  Having no experience in moth making, I decided to make a template which I used as a pattern to cut the cardboard. I made a mirrored sketch from one wing to the other and used embossing powder over the pencil lines.  Before I began painting the moth's patterned wings with acrylic, I scrunched some paper scraps and glued these around the wing edges.  The moth's body is also made out of cardboard, but I added some cut up yarn to black paint for a fuzzy appearance.  My two finishing touches were melange discs over the wing eyespots and the antennae made from tiny springs.


Moving on to the canvas, I coated the entire inverted surface in black gesso followed by modeling  paste through stencils for the initial texture layer.  The second layer consisted of crumpled tissue paper, string, thick felt circles and more stenciling.  Another coat of black gesso was applied (I really need to buy stock in gesso).  Layer three of texture included the corner floral section, mélange discs in various sizes and art stones.  Anybody care to guess what came next?  That's right!  Black gesso!  


Now for some color, albeit dark color:  black, blue and brown were my choices for the nocturnal background.  However, I also wanted a strong contrast to bring attention to the moth,  so the fourth and final layer was done in light tones.  This montage in the center was composed of twisted paper rolls, inked scrapbook paper, punched paper, a disassembled wooden birdcage and dyed cheesecloth.  I splattered a bit of white paint and sprayed some Lindy's "Whale Watch Blue" before adding my moth to the middle.


More dyed cheesecloth and bronze micro beads were added here and there followed by the final embellishments:  a lightbulb, magnifying glass, the domed word 'moth' and the phrase 'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.'



So, I'll be honest, I created this piece after I saw the challenge at More Than Words to create an entry with the prompts Beautiful and Butterfly.  I'd like to enter my piece in that challenge fully knowing I'm bending the rules a bit....However, butterflies and moths ARE from the same family, Lepidoptera ;)  

Go Underdog!

Also, I've just discovered the fun-tastic moodboards at DeeDee Catron's Our Mixed Media Moods.  Their latest board was a great nocturnal inspiration for my project.

And lastly, my favorite little steampunk corner, SanDee & Amelie's. I know my moth with his spring antennae will feel so at home there.



Product List

Prima:  Art Basics Modeling Paste and 3D Gloss Gel; Art Alchemy Métallique Acylic Paint "Steampunk Copper"; Art Ingredients "Bronze" Microbeads and Mélange; Art Extravagance Art Stones and Mini Art Stones; "Cherish" Stencil

Tattered Angels:  Bare Metal "Weathered Copper" Naturally Aged Paint System  

Lindy's Stamp Gang Starburst Sprays:  "Whale Watch Blue", "Frozen Jack Frost"

DecoArt:  Dazzling Metallics Acrylic Paint in "Worn Penny", "Champagne Gold" and "White Pearl"

Folk Art Metallic Acrylic Paint:  "Sequin Black", Color Shift "Black Flash", Brushed Metal "Brushed Gold"

Ranger:  Dylusions "Black Diamond" Stencil; Distress Ink in "Black Soot", "Walnut Stain" and "Vintage Photo"

TCW:  "Mini Netting" Stencil


16" x 8" canvas, white and black gesso, tissue paper, string, felt pads, artificial flowers, cheesecloth, patterned paper, cardboard, tiny hole punch, magnifying glass, wooden birdcage, springs and lightbulb.