Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hedychium with Sphinx Moth

This piece is for a colored pencil botanical show at the NC Botanical Gardens in Chapel Hill.

It's a ginger lily (hedychium) with a hummingbird or sphinx month.  Last summer I had several sphinx moths show up and they were really attracted to my ginger lilies.  I'd never had any of these moths in my garden before.  So I "googled" them and came to find out that they are the moth of the common horned tomato worm.

Now I know why I've not seen them around my garden before.  I have (or maybe had might be more appropriate) a colony of parastic wasps.  These are very beneficial insects if you are trying to garden organically.  They lay their eggs on caterpillars, especially tomato worms.  Their larvae then use the tomato worm as an incubator and food source until hatching as wasp.  So I'm not sure how any tomato worms escaped the wasps.  It could have possibly came from someone else's vegetable garden.

This piece is on Magnani pastel paper that's a light blue in color.  This paper is great to work on.  It holds many layers of color.  It has a slight texture, but it was easy to cover.  It's tough too - I used a Vanish eraser to completely remove the leaf on the left.  (Still not happy with it!)   After finishing the piece, I sprayed it with the new Krylon spray for pencil, pastels, and acrylics.  It's clearly labeled that way on the can.  It left a white residue on the piece.  I was able to use my fingers to remove most of it.  It doesn't show on the background.  The spray caused some areas in the piece to separate.  I don't think it dissolved.  It just looked like it moved aside from it, much like oil moves from soap.  I have fixed those areas.  The whole piece is rather flat looking now.

Needless to say, I won't be using the Krylon anymore.  I've never had any problems with the Blair spray for digital photos that I normally use.  It's archival and dries completely clear.  And as it usually the case, I don't have time to redo it.  So it will have to go as is.