This is a detail of ‘Moths’ – my finished piece based on poplar moths locked in a fragile embrace – Based on a lucky half an hour of observations of a pair on a tree. This is a large mixed media on cotton rag paper, following lots of trial pieces, mostly watercolour and ink with rust marks and burnt holes. The rusting was more controllable than the burning, but I took precautions! I wanted to show the fragile nature of the delicate creatures that only live for a few weeks. I consider myself very lucky to have seen them. The artwork will be float-mounted in a box frame. One trial piece I used experienced some extra experimentation today (instead of throwing it away) as we took it to the beach and set light to it. I wanted to see what would happen if I let it burn out of control, but in a safe place!
I’m finding mixed media very liberating as I experiment with lots of techniques in mark making, some conventional and some less so. I have found a use for lots of old paperclips, vinegar, needles and cotton and matches so far. I have sketched a plan for a moth picture (based on a pair I observed a few summers ago in Kincraig) and I’m now exploring ways to represent their delicate bodies locked in a camouflaged embrace with subtle marks, colours and textures.
Current work – I am experimenting with mixed media (cotton rag paper, ink, watercolour, burning, stitching, and anything else) based on butterflies. This is a specimen I found in the garden, but I am also working on butterflies I’ve seen in the tropical house of the Botanic Gardens, St Andrews. This butterfly is on a 30cm x 30cm square of paper.