Butterfly Art & Visit to the FMNH

Mosiac Butterfly on Heliconia ©2013 MLighthipe WatercolorI just got back from my trip to Costa Rica and we had a fabulous time. I never grow tired of visiting the country and am already planning the itinerary for next year. I got to see lots of beautiful butterflies this trip and here is a painting that I did from a previous trip. This is the sort of painting that I do at home after a trip using my field sketches and back up photographs.

As soon as I got home I had to jump right back into teaching at UFL with my Introduction to Scientific Illustration. We had a great class as we visited the Florida Museum of Natural History, The Butterfly Rainforest and the McGuire Center. We first met with Andy Warren who is the Collections Manager at the Center for Lepidoptera. The collection consists of 3 floors which are climate controlled, containing massive collections of butterflies and moths grouped by taxonomy. McGuire Center for Lepidoptera The collection is overwhelmingly rich with specimens from all over the world. Most of the specimens have been donated to the McGuire Center which opened its’ door to the public in 2006. There are laboratories focusing on molecular genetics, scanning electron microscopy, image analysis, conservation and captive propagation of endangered species, optical microscopy and specimen preparation; and classrooms and offices for students, curators, collection managers and other staff. Andy is also the creator of a very valuable website for Lepidoptera enthusiasts and natural science illustrators. His website is Butterflies of America and here you will find over 160,500 images and a list over 8,300 species of butterflies including specimens, host plants, caterpillars, habitats and more.

After our visit with Andy we met with Jacqueline Miller who is a curator and adjunct professor at the McGuire Center. She graciously showed the class a collection of rare and vintage lepidoptera engravings that were hand colored back in 1798. The color plates were  The natural history of the rarer lepidopterous insects of Georgiaexquisitely preserved and the artists’ colors and details were breathtaking. It was great to see these illustrations as it also showed the lifecycle of the butterflies as well as many of them on their host plant Here is a sample of what we got to see up close and personal from Abbot & Smith’s 1798 , The Natural History of the Lepidopterous Insects of Georgia.” It was a great day and I am glad that I could share a bit of it with you.

Do you paint butterflies? Do you have resources that you would like to share? Please leave a comment. I would love to hear from you.

If you would like to purchase my original painting please visit my gallery at Daily Paintworks

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