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Monday, December 30, 2019

Beautiul Art Museums

Niterói Contemporary Art Museum, Niterói, Brazil
A few years ago I was fortunate enough to visit the Guggenheim Museum of Art on New York City's Fifth Avenue. Aside from their display of a working solid gold toilet, the brainchild of contemporary artist Maurizio Cattela, I found the museum's art offerings decidedly underwhelming. However, I was not disappointed. I had taken time from my week of New York City museum hopping not to admire the Guggenheim's art but to take in Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural landmark with its upward swirls, sensuous curves, acute angles, and cavernous rotunda. I came face to face with a museum in which the architecture boldly competed with the art it displayed, and in fact, overwhelmingly won the competition. Ever since the museum first opened its doors on October 21, 1959, Wright's design and the museum itself have been controversial for that very reason. Moreover Wright's design broke the mold as to traditional museums of all kinds. Some critics, myself included, have often bemoaned this trend, but with few exceptions every art museum built since 1959 has shared the same trait. That having been said, perhaps it's time we stopped thinking of art museums as mere housing for the world's greatest art but instead accepted them as art masterpieces in their own right. The Guggenheim is as much an art masterpiece as the Mona Lisa or the ancient Venus de Milo.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City, 1959, Frank Lloyd Wright.
Overlooking Guanabara Bay, the Niterói Contemporary Art Museum (top) looks like something out of a science fiction film when viewed from afar. Designed by Oscar Niemeyer – a well-known Brazilian architect key to the development of modern architecture, the museum is notable not just for its contemporary art collection. There's also a gallery which shows off a fantastic view including the bay, and Rio de Janeiro and Sugarloaf Mountain across the water. Though seen as a second generation in museum design (completed in 1996), it's not difficult to discern the influence of Wright's Manhattan masterpiece (above). Its most notable feature remains the cylindrical gallery with a ramp inside that extends from ground level up to the ceiling skylight in a long, continuous spiral. The Guggenheim's collection features Impressionist, early modern and contemporary art, including paintings by Paul Cézanne and Vasily Kandinsky. The museum's cubist office annex (lower image) was nearly as controversial as the museum itself. Critics lamented the departure from Wright's upward swirls in favor of the cubist addition. However, in comparing the two photos above, the annex does not compete with Wright's design but in fact augments it, serving as a unimposing backdrop hiding the hideous New York high-rises apartments just to its north. One can only wish that a similar structure could isolate the museum from the east
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain, 1997, Frank Gehry
Having not seen the Guggenheim's other major art temple in Bilbao, Spain, it's hard to imaging an even more radical museum design. Like the Niterói Contemporary Art Museum, the Guggenheim Bilbao (above) is a second generation offspring of Wright's radical departure. It was designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry and inaugurated in 1997. Since then, the museum has housed more than a hundred exhibitions, including an epic 300-piece overview of 20th-century art. As with the New York Guggenheim, the museum further changed the way both architects and people think about museums. The impact of the new museum on the city was so great that it's now known as the Bilbao effect--when a single cultural project can revive a destination.
Foundation Louis Vuitton, Paris, France, 2006, Frank Gehry
Another architectural influence upon Frank Gehry is Frank Gehry himself as seen in the Louis Vuitton Foundation Museum and Cultural Center in Paris, France. The museum is dedicated to the legendary French fashion designer and created to support the contemporary arts. Frank Gehry, took inspiration not just from his own Bilbao creation but from the clouds when designing the building. The structure also pays homage to other huge glass buildings in Paris, most notably the Grand Palais, and houses 11 different galleries across two floors. Every year the Foundation organizes major exhibitions, bringing together significant works of modern and contemporary art from around the world. Visitors can also discover works from emerging artists, featured in the Open Space program, as well as the Collection of the Foundation that reveals itself through display series.
Museo Soumaya, Mexico City, 2011, Fernando Romero
Located on Mexico City's Nuevo Polanco, architect Fernando Romero's Museo Soumaya (above), suggests what Wright's Guggenheim might look like if turned inside out. Consisting of two buildings--Plaza Carso and Plaza Loreto--Museo Somaya is a private museum housing an impressive collection of more than 66,000 works from 30 centuries of art including sculptures from Pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica, 19th- and 20th-century Mexican art and an extensive repertoire of works by European old masters and masters of modern western art such as Auguste Rodin, Salvador Dalí, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo and Tintoretto. It is called one of the most complete collections of its kind. Recognizable by its unusual curved lines, the exterior of the building is covered in 16,000 hexagonal aluminum tiles while the interior opens into a large white gallery. Mexico's former president Felipe Calderón praised it for offering Mexicans a chance to view great art at home.
Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Santiago Calatrava
Somewhere, in some architectural handbook, it seems to be written that all 21st-century art museum must look like alien spacecraft about to soar into the clear blue sky. Far from Wright's curvilinear tradition, the Milwaukee Art Museum, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava has created a museum containing a movable, wing-like brise soleil (an architectural feature that reduces heat gain by deflecting sunlight), opening up to a total wingspan of 217 feet (66m) during the day and folds over the arched structure at night. The Milwaukee Art Museum is actually comprised of three separate buildings but its Quadracci Pavilion that's the most noteworthy. Although it holds one of the largest collections of works by Wisconsin native Georgia O'Keeffe, like all the rest, the building itself receives just as much attention.
Musée du Louvre, Paris, France, 1989, I.M. Pei
Not to be outdone by the rival Guggenheims, Paris' Louvre has made a few waves in museum design circles starting with its new glass pyramid entrance designed by the Chinese-American architect I.M.Pei is surrounded by three smaller pyramids, in the main courtyard (Cour Napoléon) of the Louvre Palace. The large pyramid serves as the main entrance to the Louvre Museum. Completed in 1989,it has become a landmark of the city of Paris. The pyramid and the underground lobby beneath it were created because of a series of problems with the Louvre's original main entrance, which could no longer handle the enormous number of visitors on an everyday basis. Visitors entering through the pyramid descend into the spacious lobby then ascend into the main Louvre buildings.

Louvre Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, UAE, 2017, Jean Nouvel
About as far removed from Pei's glass pyramid and virtually every other recent art museum is the Louvre's Abu Dhabi museum located in the United Arab Emirates. With its simple lines, vast reflective pool and graceful dome, the museum opened in 2017. It immediately exceeded one million visitors in its first year. The 35,000-strong collection includes artworks from around the world, with a particular focus on bridging the gap between Eastern and Western art. The museum building's most notable feature is its web-patterned dome that appears to be floating. It's located in Abu Dhabi's Saadiyat Island's Cultural District. Designed by architect Jean Nouvel, the Louvre Abu Dhabi aims to complement the other Emirati museums in an effort to transform the art and cultural scene in the Middle East.

Victoria & Albert Museum, Dundee, UK, Kengo Kuma
Museum architectural masterpieces are not just the province of Western architects. In the unlikely venue of Dundee, UK, Japanese architect Kengo Kuma has taken radical museum design to, or very near, its outer limits with his Victoria & Albert Museum, an offshoot from the V & A Museum in London. The museum is located on the east coast of Scotland and is the first V&A museum outside of London. It's obvious the architect owes nothing to Wright or Gehry, or any other pioneer designer of either the 20th- or 21st-centuries. The building's exterior is inspired by the eastern cliff edges of Scotland and occupies a space on the newly redeveloped Dundee waterfront. The original completion date was 2017 but it was delayed to 2018. During construction a cofferdam was installed to allow the outer wing to expand onto the River Tay while 780 tons of pre-cast grey concrete slabs were added to the outside of the building at a cost of £80.1- million to complete. Is it beautiful? Let's just say that the old adage "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" is nowhere more fitting.

Hanoi Museum, Hanoi, Vietnam, 2010, Meinhard von Gerkan, Nikolaus Goetze, Klaus Lenz
Perhaps owing some debt to I.M. Pei, there can be little doubt that Meinhard von Gerkan, Nikolaus Goetze, Klaus Lenz, though not oriental, have flawlessly incorporated Asian aesthetics into their Hanoi Museum, Hanoi, Vietnam. The pyramid is inverted and inside sloping ramps remind one of Wright's creation. The Hanoi Museum houses an impressive collection of pieces that cover the last 1,000 years of Hanoi's history, culture and architecture. The museum can be accessed by a central atrium that expands, floor by floor, into the exhibition space with the top floor purposefully built so that the visitors feel like they're floating over the landscape. The building, finished in 2010, was also designed to offer shade to the bottom floors and improve the building's energy efficiency.

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas, 2002, Tadao Ando
I have saved the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas, to this spot near the end because it stands nearly alone both as a quietly beautiful art museum, but one which in no way competes with the art offerings inside. Designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando and opened to the public in 2002, the museum building consists of five large pavilions set into a reflecting pond. The Modern's permanent collection currently consists of more than 3,000 pieces, including works by Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock and Cindy Sherman. The Museum currently showcases up to 150 works of art in its 53,000 square feet (4,900 m2) of gallery space. The majority of works in the collection are dated in between 1945 and present. The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth maintains one of the foremost collections of international modern and contemporary art in the central United States. Various movements, themes, and styles are represented, including abstract expressionism, color field painting, pop art, and minimalism, as well as aspects of new image painting from the 1970s and beyond, recent developments in abstraction and figurative sculpture, and contemporary movements in photography, video, and digital imagery.

Ordos Museum, Ordos, China--better known as
"the blob."


Monday, December 23, 2019

Christmas Gift Wrapping

If this makes you cringe, there's also the ever-popular gift bag
--not very creative but it serves the purpose.

By the time you read this, with any luck you will have wrapped up your Christmas gift wrapping. If, however, wrapping Christmas gifts is something you dread, come Christmas Eve you may still be wrestling with tissue-thin colored paper, yards of shiny ribbon, cellophane tape, and a whole box of machine-made bows you saved from last year...or the year before that. This is not just about disguising the contents of your gifts in order to enjoy the element of surprise and delight you see on a loved-one's face as they rip to shreds all your best efforts to make the gift attractive...or at least, presentable. Here I've culled outstanding examples of the gift-wrapper's art with the accent on the many different creative opportunities this peculiar artform has to offer. 

First of all, how NOT to wrap gifts.
Perhaps more important than how not to wrap gifts is when not to wrap gifts. Two factors are involved here--size and shape. If the cost of the giftwrap begins to rival that of the gift, STOP, find the biggest bow you can buy, placing it prominently on the object and forget about the element of surprise (below). Likewise if the gift does not come in a box--six sides, four corners--don't even try. Even the experts will sometimes bungle such items. In such a case, fall back on the old gift bag (some of which are HUGE) then let the recipient deal with all that paper or plastic. In such cases a white trash bag with an attractive ribbon and bow might be the answer.
Laugh if you wish, but such silly extravagance happens from time to time.
I once tried to giftwrap a football.
Thinking outside the box often results in some really memorable gifts. For instance, where is it written that wrapping a gift must hide the contents? One of the most difficult wrapping chores is that of wrapping clothing (without the store-bought box). However, if the item is quite attractive in its own right perhaps all that is needed is a little ribbon, some patience, and an attractive bow (homemade or one from a store). The white sweater below is a beautiful example.
Hassel-free, creative, and attractive--the perfect solution.
Very often your choice of giftwrap can create problems. If your paper has stripes, by all means see that they match up on the back of the gift. Otherwise, use something with a more random design. Likewise, keep in mind the age and gender of the recipient. Stores are full of paper loaded with whimsical Santas, reindeer, snowmen, etc, which is find for children's gift. Something a bit more conservative would be better suited to grandpa's new shirt and tie giftset.
A tidy little package with ribbon
well-proportioned to the stripes.

There's nothing subtle here.
In deciding the appearance of your gift, there is a broad range of possibilities, from a nearly monochromatic gold on white (below), for instance to the giant red bow fastened with a rhinestone pin (left). Here the personality and age of the recipient may be the most important factor. In general, the more expensive the gift, the more conservative one should be in designing the giftwrap presentation. If your recipient comments, "It's too pretty to unwrap," you know you've made an impression and have done your job well.
Silver and gold on white cries out
that you've spared no expense or
effort on your gift.

In recent years there has been a growing trend toward the use of evergreens as an integral part of sophisticated gift design. Such sprigs may be live or simulated, the effect is much the same. Using natural Christmas decorations often eliminates all but the simplest of bows and may, in fact, not involve ribbons at all but colorful yarn or simple pieces of twine in adding the finishing touches to your gift. 
Thinking outside the box is fun. Dare to be risky.
Nothing smells more like Christmas than
evergreens or cinnamon sticks.
When my wife was growing up back in the 1960s, the family lived on a dairy farm and con-sequently money was always in short supply. Her father con-sidered gift wrap to be hor-rendously wasteful. Actually, he was right about that. In any case, for several months before Christmas my mother-in-law be-gan to save the color comics section of the newspaper, using it to wrap gifts for my wife and her two younger sisters. The adults got their gifts wrapped in plain, ordinary newsprint. My own mother was almost equally frugal. She wrapped our gifts in multiple layers of plain, white tissue paper, sometimes with a little ribbon, but usually not. Today, we would call these tra-ditions "less is more." Later on, my mother would buy an economy roll of children's giftwrap. All our gifts were wrapped the same. We had to look carefully for our names on each present to make sure we weren't opening one another gifts. Examples below suggests that with a few colorful bows, ribbons, and ingenuity, newsprint has not gone out of style.

Today, I'm partial to bright, shiny, foil gift wraps,
perhaps as a reaction to my deprived childhood.
And finally, few things are more "Christmasy" than cookies and candy (below). For those household without pets, these items tied in with the bows. become tasty gifts upon gifts, great for ruining kids' appetites before the big Christmas day meal. Incidentally, a thoughtful pre-Christmas gift for neighborhood friends would be a "gift wrapping kit" (below) consisting of a few rolls of paper, lots of tape, and various bows and ribbons which don't look "used." Distributed in person at the front door, such thoughtfulness might result in a reciprocal gift of pumpkin or pecan pie. Gotta go now, I still have a few more items on my giftwrapping table to disguise and decorate.

A sweet, tasteful way to add an extra element of excitement to
the Christmas morning orgy of gift giving.

A thoughtful, relatively inexpensive
gift for friends next door.


Monday, December 16, 2019

1870s Art

American Progress, 1872, John Gast
In the hope of not sounding immodest, I like to think I've come to know a great deal about art, especially painting. Yet, one of the most difficult aspects of art appreciation is knowing what works of art are "important" and which ones are merely attractive footnotes to the archives. For me the the tendency is to be too inclusive as to works that are groundbreaking and those which are not. In researching just this question I sat aside more than eighteen pieces by almost that many artists which a layman art lover should recognize as "important." That's far too many for an article such as this so I am still faced with the question of what to include and what to let slide by. I find it comforting to realize that even so-called "art experts" with art knowledge far excess of mine have the same difficulty. The 1870s might well be considered the most important decade in art of all the 19th-century. For example, John Gast is a little-known American painter. Likewise, the same is true of his American Progress (top) painted in 1872. Yet the style and theme are so typical of the early 1870s in American art, I decided it would be as good a point of departure as any in exploring the art of this decade.

The Birth of Venus, 1879, William-Adolphe Bouguereau
Why is this particular decade in art history so important in the overall scheme of things? With a couple major exceptions (Picasso and Matisse for example) virtually every artist from this nascent period in Modern Art was alive and well and at one stage or another in the development of their art careers. Bouguereau's Birth of Venus (above) won the prestigious Grand Prix de Rome Academic scholarship award for the year 1879. This overused and abused mythological subject with its antiseptic nudes was where art was coming from as Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, and other such household names were fighting classical Academicism to forge a new definition of art through Impressionism and all that followed. Manet called it "art for art's sake." To put it another way, this "new" art was art about art.

Impression, Soleil Levant (sunrise), 1872, Claude Monet
Dr. Samuel D. Gross (The Gross Clinic)
1875, Thomas Eakins
The 1870s were was the decade which spawned Monet's Impression Soleil Le-vant (above). Painted in 1872, even though it predates by several years Bouguereau's last gasp of Academicism, the tremendous differences between the two serve to underline the incredible progression Modern Art was struggling to instill. Compare Monet's 1872 effort with that of John Gast's American Progress painted the same year. All during the 19th-century, American art and artists always lagged at least a decade behind their French counterparts. That's not to say that American artists were in any way inferior to the French. The works of the Philadelphia painter, Thomas Eakins such as his Max Schmitt in a Single Scull (below),from 1871 or his The Gross Clinic (right) from 1875 hold up quite well as compared to works by Manet, Gus-tave Caillebotte, and Edgar Degas.

Max Schmitt in a Single Scull, 1871, Thomas Eakins
In England during the 1870s, the Pre Raphaelite Brotherhood of William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and a few others numbering about seven altogether reigned sup-reme. Rossetti's Holy Grail (right) from 1874 is typical of the nostalgic longings and fussy style of the others. Their work stands in stark contrast to that of Gustave Caillebotte and the clean simplicity of his Paris Street; Rainy Day, (below) from 1877. Edgar Degas broke new ground as he explored the gritty underbelly of the Paris drug culture in L'Absinthe (below-left), from the year 1876.

Holy Grail. 1874,
Dante Gabriel Rosetti


L'Absinthe, 1876,
Edgar Degas

Paris Street; Rainy Day, 1877, Gustave Caillebotte
Though they each branded Impressionism with their individual styles, Edouard Manet and Auguste Renoir each managed to obtain small victories over the prettified niceties of the centuries-old Academicism. Manet's The Gare Saint-Lazare (upper image, below), from 1873 quite apart from his somewhat stark, flat style displays simple genre content previously considered by the French Academy to be "unworthy" of such a large canvas. On the other hand, Renoir's Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette (lower image, below), from 1876, is every bit as frivolous as Bouguereau's Birth of Venus but without the mythological pretensions thought to be required when painting nudes.

Upper image: The Gare Saint-Lazare, 1873, Edouard Manet
Lower image: Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette, 1876, Auguste Renoir
Athlete Wrestling with a
Python, 1877, Frederick Leighton
Nowhere are the stylistic differences between American art and the cutting-edge world of French art clearer than in the area of sculpture. In the wake of the American Civil War sculptors were kept busy carving and casting life-size or larger monuments to men such as Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, U. S. Grant, and most frequently Abe Lincoln himself. Two monumental sculptures stand apart from the others, one carved from white marble, the other cast in bronze. The bronze by Randolph Rogers lords over the pigeons in Philadelphia's Fairmont Park while the pristine standing marble representation is intended to inspire lawmakers from the Capitol rotunda in Washington D.C. Meanwhile on the British side of the Atlantic, Frederic Leighton's muscular bronze athlete (right) wrestles with a mighty python akin to that of the Vatican Laocoon. Due largely to its classical purity the bronze combatants seem locked in a life-or death struggle marking this work in the eyes of Leighton's critics and admirers alike as his greatest work.
Upper image: Lincoln, 1871, Randolph Rogers, Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, PA
Lower image: Lincoln, 1871, Vinnie Ream, U.S. Capitol Rotunda


Now, to make my point, the French sculptor, Auguste Rodin's Walking Man (right) from 1878 stands in stark contrast to the latent academicism of both Rogers and Ream not to mention that of Frederic Leighton whose classical tendencies were far more than latent. It's hard to imagine what Impres-sionist sculpture might look like without bringing to mind the many diverse carvings and castings of Auguste Rodin. Rodin's Walking Man is no one famous (he doesn't even possess a head). He pays tribute to "walking men" the world over, very much in a theretofore unseen universal homage.
The Walking Man (front)
1878, Auguste Rodin.

At first glance The Walking Man appears to be nude. Closer inspection reveals that he is, in fact, wearing the appropriate garb of a wrestler. Speaking of which, having discussed the painting and sculpture of the 1870s, on a lighter note we cannot forget the men and women of high fashion who kept the textile mills humming, scissors snipping, and we, their ancestors, laughing. Although men's fashions have evolved to some degree in the past 150 years it's the ladies who (fortunately) have seen the greatest strides in the designer's art. The French illustrator, James Tissot, in his Too Early (below), from 1873 gives us a peak at the bustles and elaborate drapery which characterized evening dresses of the early 1870s. The gentleman is outfitted in evening dress as well though far less flamboyantly.

Too Early, 1873, James Tissot. I keep wondering how the
ladies managed such frocks in going to the ladies' room.
Not to slight the gentlemen, we see below the tasteful garb of well-dressed young men whose only bow to high fashion is the "stovepipe" hat. I wonder if anyone ever made a statue of Lincoln wearing one. We know from mid-century photos that he was something of a fashion icon for his time.
The theme for men's fashions of the 1870 appears to be neat and,
slender, with just a touch of lace strategically placed near the bow tie.
Perhaps nothing has had a more lasting effect on women's fashions than the automobile. With a carriage, there were always polite gentlemen milling about to help the distressed, over-dressed, mistress climb to her seat for a leisurely ride in the park. That was not the case as women found it necessary to fend for themselves in getting in and out of cars. Skirts gradually got shorter. Waists became looser, even hats have gradually fallen to the wayside (or been blown off). All this we find amusing as compared to the difficulties faced by the present day art appreciator.
Yards and yards of unneeded fabric stitched together with hours 
upon hours of wasted time to create a dress such as this.
He says: "shall we sit for a bit?"
She says: "I should like to but my dressmaker
says I mustn't."


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