Wildlife Artist Matt Patterson

You don’t have to be an ichthyologist or herpetologist or attend the Mothapalooza in Ohio to enjoy the varied work of wildlife artist Matt Patterson of New Ipswich.

His lifelike renditions of snakes, salamanders and fish are beautifully rendered in paint and pencil and are available as prints through his website, mpattersonart.com.

Recently, Patterson ventured into the third dimension with birds and moths, sculpted with plaster and paper. For the moths, shown here, he sculpts the body out of plaster for strength. To make the wings, he cuts paper into tiny strips, scores the paper for texture, then finally paints wondrous details with acrylics and an acrylic gouache. The leaves that accompany each piece are, appropriately, the host plant — what the caterpillar would eat, and are also handmade out of paper.

As moths are drawn to light, these paper moths are featured on a frame that’s also a working light. Leaves and moths are sculpted to actual size and, of course, the species are accurately rendered. Moths are creatures of deception and camouflage, often using the fascinating look of a frightful predator with menacing eyes.

A few of Patterson’s moths are on display at The Caterpillar Lab in Marlborough and are also available on his website. His trout illustrations are available through Orvis, and he will be attending the Turtle Survival Alliance Symposium this August.

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