Painting#10- Death’s Head Moth

by Mindy on March 11, 2012

in 52/52 Challenge, Butterfly Art, Insect Art, Videos, Watercolor Tips

52/52 Painting Challenge

Silence of the Lambs… The Death's Head Moth

One of the scariest movies I have seen is Silence of the Lambs. I love Jody Foster and Anthony Hopkins. The two of them together along with the Death's Head Moth sent me into the movie theaters years ago even though I am a bit of scaredy cat. The moth pupa was the signature left by the serial killer in the movie. I have been dying to paint it ever since!

The name Death's-head moth refers to any one of the three species of moth in the genus Acherontia. The common name for the genus is a sphinx or hawk moth. They are found in Europe and Asia. They get their name because they have a pattern of markings on the thorax that looks like a human skull. All three species are fairly similar in size, coloration, and life cycle.

They have the ability to create a loud squeak when irritated. They have a brightly-colored abdomen that they expose by spreading their wings to deter predators. I have included this YouTube video so you can see a live one in action.

In this painting I used masking fluid to mask off the moth and paint the background and lichen first. Once the background was dropped in and dry I peeled off the masking fluid. I drew in the detail of the moth and painted it. My recommendation if you are thinking about using masking fluid is to make sure not to leave it on your watercolor paper for more than 24 hours. It will adhere to the paper and be hard to remove if left longer. I have seen it remove part of the paper and ruin a painting.

Happy Painting!


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Wrenaissance Art March 12, 2012 at 6:32 am

Lovely painting. It really shows the camoflouging of the moth on the lichen.
I have also had masking fluid stain the paper underneath when left on for more than 24 hours. Plus, it goes "off" rather quickly once opened, in warmer climates, at least. It really does need to be used with caution.

laura Ashton March 12, 2012 at 11:53 am

Well done again Mindy
This is really neat.  I presume you painted this from a picture?  I too love that movie.  I like the way you have done the lichen.  It seems to be some sort of wet -in- wet technique?  There is lots of lichen up here where I live…  I have been wanting to paint it but have been intimidated on how to capture it's delicate beauty.  
Do you have any tips on Lichen painting… how would you make a start at it?
Thanks Laura

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