The Artist's Road  World Map

Nature's Magic Act - Perspectives No. 445

| Next
 

Nature’s Magic Act

Perspectives No. 445

Cyphochilus Beetle Scales magnified courtesty Cambirdge University
Cyphochilus Beetle Scales, magnified     (Cambridge University)

   Mixing all our paint colors together—subtractive mixing—we can get very close to black (or a very muddy version of black), but mixing all the colors of light in the color spectrum creates white—additive color mixing.

   The Cyphochilus beetle is one of the whitest insects in the world, with an exoskeleton covered in unusually bright white scales. It is thought to have evolved this camouflage in order to be less visible in the white fungus of the sugar cane plants it inhabits in southeast Asia.

   There is no pigment in its scales, though. The Cyphochilus carapace, which is a fraction of the thickness of a very thin sheet of paper, is actually transparent. It has provided scientists with fascinating information that is used in understanding how to create whiter whites in manufacturing processes for paints and coatings.

   Part of the the mystery of the Cyphochilus’s coloration is how its scales can be so white and yet so very thin, completely covering the black beetle body underneath them. The key is in the chaos of the tiny filaments that comprise the scales. The very thin and very disordered structure of the filaments scatters light so efficiently that it creates opacity in the scales. They are able to deflect all colors with equal power. The average 30% of empty space between filaments also seems to be ideal for scattering efficiency. It the particles are more ordered in size, shape and placement, scattering of light is less efficient and colors are created. This is similar to the extraordinary blue of the feathers of the diminutive Indigo Bunting. They, too, are structured of materials that refract, or bend sunlight, but in such a way that only the bright blue light spectrum is reflected back to our eyes.

   The Cyphochilus beetle has managed to scatter all the light, a rarity in nature.

Cyphochilus Beetle Wikipedia CC Olimpia1lli
Cyphochilus Beetle      (Wikipedia CC Olimpia1lli)




Copyright Hulsey Trusty Designs, L.L.C. (except where noted). All rights reserved.
Become an Artist's Road Member Today!

The Artist's Road LogoClick here to become a Member and enjoy access to all the in-depth painting and travel articles, videos and tutorials. Guaranteed!

Search the Site
Pay-Per-View Articles

New! If you're not a Member of The Artist's Road, some of our articles are available as Pay-Per-View.

Click here to find out more!

Perspectives

Not ready to become a Member yet? Subscribe to our free email postcards, "Perspectives". Enter your email address here.

New Member Content

Berkshire October, 12 x 16", Oil, © John MacDonaldVoices of Experience:John MacDonald

Red
Detail, Red Rhododendrons, 60 x 54", Oil, © Jim McVickerRhodos:Jim McVicker
A Master's Process

Bright Hope for Tomorrow, 18 x 24", Pastel, © Doreen St. JohnVoices of Experience:Doreen St. John

 

Photograph © Kevin SinkEssential Photo Tools for the Landscape Artist

 

TheThe Goldfish Window, 1916, Childe Hassam Artist's Window


Ro
Rose Delight Watercolor Demonstration by John Hulseyse Delight:A Step-by-Step WC Slide Show


Thin
Peony Love Affair, Oil Painting, © A. Trustyk Pink!



The Model Resting (detail), Casein/Tempera, 1889, Henri de Toulouse LautrecCasein - An Overlooked Medium

 
 In thCarrieres de Lumieres II, photograph © J. Hulseye Footsteps of Van Gogh-Part II


 John Hulsey Paints in the Studio BoatThe Studio Boat

 

Clearing Off, Charlotte ComanThe Women of the Hudson River School


La danse I, 1909, PD US, Henri MatisseThe Perspectives Archive

and MUCH MORE!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

The Artist's Road Store
A Primer on Night Painting - Nocturnes

Nocturnes - A Primer on Night Painting

Filled with inspirational examples by the masters of nightime painting, this little book is sure to fire up your creative energies. Never tried painting at night? We show you how it's done with a step-by-step-oil demo and a tale of night painting in the wilds of Rocky Mountain National Park. The Primer on Night Painting - Nocturnes is a 7 x 7" PDF download with 40 pages of text and images. It includes a gallery of paintings by masters of the nocturne, information to inspire and encourage you in your plein air nocturne painting, an illustrated step-by-step demo and tips for working in pastel and oil. Also available in a softcover edition. Check out the tools and other products that we use in our own art and travels in The Artist's Road Store. We only offer things for sale that we enthusiastically believe in.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

About Us

Photograph of John Hulsey and Ann Trusty in Glacier National Park
We are artists, authors and teachers with over 40 years of experience in painting the world's beautiful places. We created The Artist's Road in order to share our knowledge and experiences with you, and create a community of like-minded individuals.  You can learn more about us and see our original paintings by clicking on the links below.
About Ann
     About John
 Hulsey Trusty Studios

We are also regular contributors to the Plein Air blog at Artist Daily.

TAR logo