Owl butterfly

Owl butterfly

Common Name: Owl
Scientific Name: Caligo memnon
Exhibit: Butterfly Garden
Medium: Colored Pencil
Date finished: January 29, 2011
Observation: Ever since I had started drawing butterflies at the zoo I had been wanting to draw this one. The amount of detail on the large Owl butterflies just announced 'challenge' to my artistic point of view. There were several things that held me back from drawing one earlier. One: I had not found a way to save the butterflies I was drawing until I got to the Blue Morpho (Maybe the Malachite), but the fact that I had not saved the original Mexican Blue Wing that I drew had caused me much trouble when I found out how different each one was. I'm not allowed to take the butterflies home with me, so I now put them in an air tight container that I keep in the garden. Two on the reasons I didn't draw this butterfly earlier is because it is very rare or an Owl to live so long without damaging the wings. There was a little damage on one wing, but it was on the other side o the butterfly. There was damage to the thorax which annoyed me, but I was able to get a good reference picture from another Owl. Most dead butterflies do not last long as the tiny ants tend to get to them fast. I generally try to find butterflies that have just died or on their last legs. In other words they look dead other than the occasional twitch before their final death. The reason for Owls gaining so much damage to their wings before they die is because their wings are so big and fragile. And third on the list is that I had feared that I couldn't fit such a large detailed butterfly on a 3"x5" sheet of paper. When I managed to get a hold of the near perfect dead Owl butterfly I just knew it was time. I had a way to keep it, the specimen was good, and I was just using up the last of my 3"x5" sketch pad which meant I had to start using a new one. I could get something like an 8"x10" pad, but I feel like that would be awkward to carry around all the time. Instead of starting on another 3"x5" pad or an 8"x10", I decided to go with a 4"x6" pad. Not only is it large enough to it the butterfly, but it is also small enough to be easily carried around and the pictures fit in the small photo album I use to keep and show off my completed pictures. Currently the album is just over a third full. When I started on the Owl I knew it was going to take a long time. Months. I even guessed up to a year to complete. I started the picture just after I finished the Glasswing: May 15, 2010. I finished it on January 29, 2011, so you can see how long it took me. Though since I worked on it only two or three times a month, it had taken me 20 days (And for about 3 - 3.5 hours each day). So total time I worked on it was give or take 70 hours (The last day only took me one hour, and the first day I had finished up the Glasswing). It was a little intimidating to begin with, but once I got going I really enjoyed drawing this picture. By the time I got to the hindwing I had found my rhythm and was able to do one cell of the wing per day. And at times a little more. At first I didn't want to start on one area until I knew I had time to complete it, but then I started putting down base coats of color and returning to do the detailed lines the next time. Finishing the Owl is actually kinda bittersweet to me as I am so glad to finally be done with it, but at the same time I will miss the challenge of the detail that no other butterfly in the garden could come close to possessing. As far as drawing butterflies goes, this is my masterpiece.