Butterflies in flight
There is so much I want to say in this blog post. It all started with a simple butterfly demonstration this week on one of my workshops in UK. I kept the demonstration simple so that the artist who was new to my sessions could easily follow my brushwork. But then I returned to my studio and added two butterflies to a simple sky wash, a new butterfly painting which made three this week. I worked on a sky painting from my workshops which I had painted as a one on one demonstration. I shared that simple painting on my blog yesterday. It is my previous blog post.
From there I had another wash from last week that I felt could make a great foundation for an autumn scene. But by now I had started thinking of all the wonderful butterflies I have seen in my life and a beautiful memory flooded back. I had moved to Hong Kong years ago. Shortly after our arrival there we rescued two dogs. Actually we went to the rescue centre to rescue one dog but he had a sibling pup in his cage and as she wasn't very pretty we rescued her too. I had made the mistake of asking what would happen to her and was told she would be put to sleep as she wasn't a pretty dog. The centre felt no one would want her. Years later my beautiful rescue turned into a really pretty animal and everyone loved her. Love and patience can achieve so much. In art and in life. But back to my memory of butterflies.
I began each day in Hong Kong walking in a remote country park with my very much loved rescue dogs. Named Buddy and Holly. I would walk for an hour into the park and one hour out of the park on my return home. Often ignoring the beaten tracks and going on my own routes. On one such adventure I came across a huge tree with many golden , rust coloured leaves at its' base. Their colour in sunshine was glorious. Not exciting as such but interesting against the greens every where in sight at that time. I touched the leaves with my foot, as a child would, to enjoy the sensation of freedom. My dogs were close by watching my every move. I had expected the leaves to rise and fall. But they didn't. They rose high into the sky , twisting and turning as they reached higher and higher above my head. They weren't leaves. They were butterflies. Not pretty by any means. Not colourful but in flight they were gorgeous. I watched entranced as I had never seen anything like it before.
One butterfly landed on the huge nose of my massive rescue male dog and he stood still, going cross -eyed looking at what had landed right on the very tip of his nose. The gentle giant didn't move as if he knew this was a very special occurrence. I laughed! Eventually the butterflies drifted away. Possibly to a new spot where they could rest undisturbed.
I can't help thinking how lucky I was to see that sight. If I hadn't rescued these two dogs I may not have been walking so often or into areas of the park that I hadn't seen before. Our act of kindness in rescuing these two dogs gave us many years of love, laughter and an unconditional bond which I will never forget.
And so I found myself yesterday looking at this piece of paper with golden colours on it, and from my imagination I painted my memory. I find in workshops far too often artists will bring in an image or real flower and they will paint exactly what they see. When in fact its' when you lose that visual image that your inner creative artist can take flight. Maybe we don't trust our inner artist enough. We try to control it. We try to master our techniques and restrict our creative spirit by doing what we think we should to be good artist, rather than simply allowing ourselves to express our feelings just from out thoughts, memories and life experiences.
I actually love this painting. It is like nothing I have ever painted before and yet it speaks volumes to me. I count my blessings every single day. Perhaps we all should. Taking nothing including our sight for granted.
Have a great day
1) Don't always paint from photographs.
2) Express your inner feelings and moods in simple colourful washes.
3) Be you. Everyone can be inspired by other artists but how do you know you aren't better than whose work you are enjoying?
4) Let your inner artist out!