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Monday, December 9, 2019

Butterfly Art

Oklahoma artist, Kristy Patterson utilized
a page from an old dictionary as a quite
meaningful backdrop for her butterfly art.
Over the past years, I've written extensively on nearly every type of art involving living creatures. The operant word in that statement is "nearly." That is to say, that each time I did so I found myself digging deep-er and deeper in my mental men-agerie to come up with a different topic each time. A few days ago, I was startled to realize that there was yet another that is incred-ibly popular with artists and the buying public alike which I'd never considered to before--butterflies. In retrospect, their popularity has long been quite understandable. They are among the most beautiful animated gifts of en-during loveliness on God's green earth. Although they do serve a pur-pose in pollinating flowers and other plants around us, it would seem that they are, first and fore-most, ornamental in the finest sense of the word.

From sterling silver to delicate gold filigree set with diamonds, a single
butterfly design can be rendered in dozens of colors and variations.
One of the wonderful attributes butterflies possess is their seemingly limitless variety of shapes, colors, and designs (below). Moreover the artist's mind adores the near perfect vertical symmetry possessed by virtually every member of the macrolepidopteran clade Rhopalocera from the order Lepidoptera, (thank you Wikipedia) which also includes moths and butterflies. Among the earliest manifestations of the butterfly as a design motif can be found in early 20th-century Art Nouveau. The butterfly often appears in Art Nouveau jewelry (above) sharing the limelight with bees, beetles, and other orthopterans (such as crickets, and locusts).

A sampling of just a few butterfly shapes, designs, and colorations.
The delicate beauty of the butterfly has likewise inspired poets (To the Butterfly by William Wordsworth), composers such as Giacomo Puccini's and his opera, Madame Butterfly, and children's TV as seen in Ninja a British sitcom hybrid hosted by Ricky Martin. Rock music has also adapted the butterfly as a versatile theme as in To Pimp a butterfly, by Kendrick Lamar and the 1970 Metamorphosis, the fourth studio album by Iron Butterfly.


Around the 18th-century, many writers such as Maria Sibylla Merian were also quite adept at accurately depicting the butterfly from a scientific perspective. There are also hundreds of examples of butterfly sculp-tures, most far more intricate than the one above. Likewise, the butterfly is often pre-sent in the art of various Asian cultures as seen in Monarcy, by Ruth Welter (right).
Monarcy, Ruth Welter
And in a similar manner the butterfly also easily adapts to various forms of Abstract Expressionism as seen in Bugs & Butterflies by Lucy Arnold.

Bugs & Butterflies by Lucy Arnold

Acrylic wall art by Mike Moats.
Moreover when we think of art we first bring to mind paintings which hang on a wall to beautify our homes and it is in that context that we see the work of artists such as Mike Moats (right) and the watercolor image of the several artists working in that most-difficult medium the but-terflies seem the most versatile, but highly satisfying medium. The upper image below is titled Monarch Butterfly by Marian Voicu. Just below that is a watercolor rendering Demdaco, while the lower image is titled Flutterby Wisps, by Farrell Douglass.  
Butterflies being light and delicate creatures, many painters choose
watercolor with its equally light and delicate virtue .

A decorative, highly romantic
butterfly motif as employed
by Maria Pace-Wynters
And finally, no subject matter, animal, hu-man, or natural lends itself to fantasy art more readily than the romantic, highly decorative butterfly. Whether seen at an angle while in flight or with its wings fully spread displaying its perfect vertical sym-metry, the butterfly stands in close proximity to the ubiquitous heart shape as an inter-national symbol of grace, peace, and love. Below and to the left are but two examples of the butterfly used in such a context.

The Bloomin' Couch,
Metal Art by David Kracov

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