Self-Portrait with Moths

“Self-Portrait with Moths” — oil on canvas 36 x 24″ by Margie Guyot

I consider this Pandemic experience as “very freeing”. With galleries closed and the possibility of few art-buying tourists this year, why waste my days cranking out things people will want to buy? Around here, hot subjects are “orchards in bloom”, “barns” and “boats on the water”. The pressure’s off — and thank goodness! This is the perfect time to practice portraits. Or try whatever catches my fancy. So I decided to practice painting another portrait. And to make it really challenging, I decided to try imagining how I’d look if the light source was coming from below. At first, it was ghoulish! So absolutely ghoulish, I deleted the photos!

I have a favorite lantern I’d nabbed at a junk shop. It’s covered in butterflies. I rooted around in my closet to pick out a favorite hippie, floral shirt. I even ordered a book on butterflies from Amazon to use as a reference. Then I realized it wasn’t butterflies I needed — it was moths! Had to wait a good two weeks for that to arrive.

Oh yes, I’ve always loved moths and butterflies. I used to collect cocoons in the woods when I was a kid and bring them home, stash in my crayon box, then forget about them. At some point during the winter they’d hatch in the house. My favorite was a big cecropia moth with a 5 – 6″ wingspan. Imagine the look of surprise on my dad’s face when we came home from the movies and saw that hanging on the curtains!

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