Family mothing and art

Kuen Liu Spichiger and her family will be observing, photographing, collecting, pinning, drawing and painting moths in their yard and at home during National Moth Week. Kuen will share pictures on her  facebook page.

Guest post by Kuen Liu Spichiger

I am interested in all kinds of insects and enjoyed looking at the insect books at home. I live in the countryside of central Pennsylvania with my family and am always inspired by the nature around us. I remember we went to a moth event at Ned Smith Center for Art and Nature last year. There was a book launch held by one of the authors, Seabrooke Leckie. Her book, Peterson Field Guide to Moths of Northeastern North America is amazing with beautiful pictures of moths and useful information. I like flipping through the book from time to time in order to learn more about moths and get inspiration from them.

Recently I did a couple of moth paintings. One of them was inspired by my entomologist husband. I was thinking about making a Mother’s Day card and asked him if he knew any insects relating to mothers. One day, he told me that he found a moth named “Mother Underwing.” He printed out the pages from Bug Guide Website for me. The bright orange color of the underwing is beautiful. The name of it made me think of a mother with her inner beauty. My husband and I discussed about how to connect the moth to mothers. He came up with a sentence, “The complex outer appearance gives way to the inner beauty beneath.” I loved it. Afterwards, I came up with a pop-up design, which was able to enhance the inner beauty of mothers. Meanwhile I did some research of the host plants of this moth. White poplar was one of them. In addition, I noticed that the word “mother” had the word “moth” in it. What a perfect moth to be featured on Mother’s Day, I thought. This was the story of how I was inspired to create a card of the beautiful moth for appreciating mothers.

MotherUnderwing_Close-up1 MotherUnderwing_Close-up2Since my husband is a state entomologist and is working for the department of agriculture, there is a huge collection of insects from all over the world. I took out a loan of two Mother Underwing specimens from my husband’s work collection. I got a chance to look at them under a microscope while I was painting. I am thankful for this privilege.MotherUnderwing-words_8.5x11_LR

The privilege continues at home. Although my husband is interested in beetles, he also collects other insects, such as moths and butterflies. I love looking at them up close. There are a lot of details and patterns that we cannot see with our bare eyes. These always amaze me.

Here are some moths that I have painted recently.

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About me:

Think of my art as a story rather than just a creative and beautiful execution. Love to use drawing pens to document my life and express my feelings.

Living in a small valley on top of a hill in the US with my entomologist hubby and our daughter; creating art inspired by them and the natural world, I am an art teacher, artist, children’s picturebook illustrator as well as a mom and housewife who loves to garden, cook, and enjoy the beauty of nature.

Kuen Kuen Liu Spichiger

art teacher and children’s picturebook illustrator and author


Kuen Art

Kuen Kuen’s travel journal in China in 2008 – 娟娟的2008中國旅遊日記




Everyone can participate in National Moth Week, a global citizen science project.

For information and registration visit

Media Contact: Sandra Lanman

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