Transformation & the Ways of Butterfly
Recently I visited the butterfly exhibit at Lewis Ginter Gardens in Richmond, Virginia. I had seen the butterflies at the Smithsonian a couple years ago, and was eager to go again. This time I went alone with my watercolor sketchbook and cell phone.
It was a welcome relief from a busy time preparing proposals for complex installations. Taking the day to wander through the gardens, eat lunch in the tea house, and do as I please was a well earned change of pace. I say this because these circumstances often drive the art as well.
Having completed other work I went with a blank slate.
I've done a lot of thinking about the ways of butterfly. Feeling myself on the verge of transformation, I wondered how I might ease in to it.
I made a list of all the stages of metamorphosis. Not only caterpillar, chrysallis, butterfly . . .
also how that which is INSIDE the chrysalis is FLUID.
No longer caterpillar.
As the butterfly emerges, the wings are wet.
Pieces of the chrysalis fall away.
Butterfly perches for a moment in the light. When the wings are dry, she flies without considering it at all.
If I am still INSIDE my chrysalis, I must be still and let the Creator do this transformation thing. That was my day at the garden.
And the day after.
The studio is filled with wet paintings, wings.
Taking another day to rest, I placed this large canvas prepared with fiber paste on the painting table.
Fiber paste is FLUID. After it dries is is like a shell.
Using watercolor I found the widest watercolor brush (about 2") and mixed up a vibrant green blue. Painting squares, I let the watery pigments run down into the fibers.
Flowing into the crevices, pigments gathered deeper colors.
Pastels and graphite drawings bled in wet puddles of paint, dragging colors.
Paper towel lifts pigments off the surface revealing white canvas.
Is this flying?
I feel as though I've taken off from what I was doing!
Do I care? not really
I will paint on it until I am satisfied.
If I love it, I'll keep it.
If I don't,
I'll let it go.
Will it affect my oil painting when I return to the other palette?
What will I create with it?
Is it finished?
I don't know yet.