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Small But Mighty! 

Benefits The Laurel Community Center

Aquatic Insect Art Auction

Painting #1

Mayfly nymph

(Isonychia sp.)

Painting #3

Stonefly nymph (Pteronarcys biloba)

Painting #2

Caddisfly larva (Molanna blenda)

All three are large format 30” x 40” acrylic and ink paintings.

Auction of Aquatic Insect Art by Tess Darling Benefits Laurel Community Center

Small but mighty.  That describes the aquatic insects that fuel aquatic foodwebs, that tell us when our streams are healthy or not, and that caused the Laurel River of Madison County to be classified as “Outstanding” and forever protected from future pollution discharges.  It’s also how one supporter described the Laurel Community Center Organization (LCCO) and their efforts to renovate a streamside elementary school into a community hub as well as a place to learn about the ecology of mountain streams.


An online auction of original fine art featuring beautiful large-scale paintings of aquatic insects will benefit LCCO.   Wildlife artist Tess Darling of Big Laurel Madison County recently attended a workshop on aquatic insects at LCC, taught by ecologist Dave Penrose. Struck by the insects’ beauty under a microscope, Darling has painted three large-format (30” x 40”) acrylic and ink paintings of insects from Shelton Laurel Creek:  a Mayfly nymph (Isonychia sp.), a Stonefly nymph (Pteronarcys biloba), and a Caddisfly larva (Molanna blenda).  Over 75 times life size, Darling’s artwork captures up close the beauty, colors and amazing features of these three important aquatic insect species.


Dave Penrose has organized an online auction of Darling’s paintings to benefit LCCO’s efforts to promote public awareness of the biodiversity and outstanding water quality in the Laurel River system of Madison Co. NC.  


These paintings would be perfect conversation starters hanging on your wall - to tell your visitors the story of the healthy Laurel waters.  Or for a person that loves to fly fish:  these insects are the models for popular fly patterns.  Darling captures the character of these tiny but mighty organisms with bold organic strokes and jewel-like transparencies.  Darling’s wildlife artwork of larger charismatic species like wolves is featured in Asheville galleries and has commanded prices in the thousands of dollars.


For more details about the paintings, the artist Tess Darling, and how to bid on the online auction, visit the LCCO’s website at  Place your bid by November 30 (minimum bid for each painting $500).  The Laurel Community Center Organization is a 501(c)3 non-profit located at 4100 NC Hwy 212, open 10am till 2pm weekdays at (828) 656-3633

Auction has ended.

For questions, please email


Give us call at 828-656-3633

If you missed the opportunity to bid on these paintings but would still like to support the Laurel Community Center's mission, please visit our "Support" tab and consider making a donation today! 

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