By painting these moths hundreds of times their actual size I feel it gives them the significance, presence and impact to reveal the magical, beautiful and bizzare creatures that they are. It gives me the opportunity to show and emphasise the details of their wings, bodies and antennae as I observe them, without the unique areas of pattern being lost. Standing up close to the painting, due to their massive size, you are forced to take in the areas of pattern, detail, colour and texture in sections – without being able to see the creature as a whole due to the scale of the painting. Moving backwards from the piece the details blur together to make the readily recognisable depiction of the particular species of moth.

I use my paints to emphasise and simplify areas of pattern and detail whilst remaining true to the species. I also incorporate some elements of patterns from tribal cultures that helps to create these moth paintings as symbols, messengers or totems and incoporate my fascination with human survival and the link between human culture and the environment. Moths became a powerful personal symbol for me in my life when my strength and resilience was really pushed to the limit through long term physical illness and other challenges. They represented courage, transformation and intuition for me, which is also true for many cultures in the world. How I represent them in my paintings reflects this; skirting the border between myth, magic and reality; science and art; the mind and intuition.


You can explore the first five paintings in this series from my 'MOTH' exhibition here. I am currently working on more pieces for this series.


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© Chelsea Hopkins-Allan