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Winged Inspiration

by Niki Hilsabeck in Recent Posts

Painting butterflies: why are they so appealing to artists?

“Fleeting” 4 x 5.5 Pastel on Paper                       “Perched” 4.5 x 5.5 Pastel on Paper
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If possible, we visit the butterfly exhibit at one of our local conservation parks every year. Keeping an eye on the kids as they delight in the butterflies, I’m usually trying to hang onto my phone, carefully snapping as many unique photos of the butterflies as I can get.
Now that I’ve become a little obsessed with gardening, I look forward to planting as many butterfly-friendly flowers as I can, so that I’ll someday get photos of them at home.
It’s not just the colors and shapes of the butterflies that I like to capture in paintings– it’s their sense of movement, and the idea that they don’t stay too long in one place.  I also can’t help but think how quickly they disappear, dwindling in numbers in the weeks after the exhibit opens, leaving the flowers and plants quietly waiting for the next spring once they’re gone.
Whether it’s the glimpse of wings in the foliage, or a close-up view of the symmetrical patterns and intricate details of the butterfly in all its glory, a butterfly or two (or more) will brighten any painting.  I save the task of filling the butterfly into the painting for last, as for me it’s the most enjoyable detail in any paintings I create that feature these delicate creatures. 
A few more butterfly pieces inspired by the above-mentioned exhibit:
I’ll be at the Leucadia Art walk on the 101 on Sunday, August 24th, and I’ll be bringing lots of painted butterflies to hang in my booth that day!

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