Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Gossamer Wings

I thought I would celebrate the first week of Spring by painting something bright and colourful; a delicate Monarch Butterfly came to mind, so here is my "Monarch of the Garden":

Where does the butterflies colour come from?
"Butterflies actually get their colors from two different sources: ordinary (or pigmented) color and structural color. The ordinary color comes from normal chemical pigments that absorb certain wavelengths of light and reflect others. For example, the pigment chlorophyll colors plants green. The chlorophyll soaks up the blue and red colors of the spectrum, but not the green, which you see when it bounces back to your eye. Most butterflies get their different shades of brown and yellow from melanin, the same pigment that makes you tan in summer and gives some people freckles.

The structural color of butterflies is where things get interesting. This type of color stems from the specific structure of the butterflies' wings and explains why some of a butterfly's colors seem to shift and appear so intense. This quality of changing colors as you, the observer, moves is known as iridescence, and it occurs more in nature than you might think. Mother of pearl seashells, fish and peacocks are just a few examples of animals with this quality, but it is most pronounced in the butterfly family. It happens when light passes through a transparent, multilayered surface and is reflected more than once. The multiple reflections compound one another and intensify colors."

I have twice visited butterfly "farms", protective enclosures with the food, temperature and humidity controlled so the butterflies can thrive. Butterflies become more active in hot and humid conditions. Great for the butterflies but hard on the photographer and camera! 

The first "butterfly farm" was in Costa Rica, and on that visit a butterfly perched on my shoulder for most of my visit. Butterflies gladden the spirit and brighten the eye, here are some pictures and quotes about butterflies:
"May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun
And find your shoulder to light on,
To bring you luck, happiness and riches
Today, tomorrow and beyond."
~Irish blessing

Blue Morpho on my shoulder

Tiger Longwing

"Just living is not enough," said the butterfly, "one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower."  ~Hans Christian Andersen

Blue Morpho showing the inside of the wings

My second visit to "Butterfly Farm" was in Arizona:

"If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies."
 ~Author unknown

Tiger Longwing
Tree Nymph
"The caterpillar does all the work but the butterfly gets all the publicity."
~Attributed to George Carlin

 "What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly."
 ~Richard Bach

Blue morpho (outside)
"Beautiful and graceful, varied and enchanting, small but approachable, butterflies lead you to the sunny side of life.  And everyone deserves a little sunshine. "
 ~Jeffrey Glassberg

White Admiral
"The butterfly is a flying flower,
The flower a tethered butterfly."
~Ponce Denis Écouchard Lebrun

"There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly."
  ~Richard Buckminster Fuller


Siproeta Stelenes
"Love is like a butterfly:  It goes where it pleases and it pleases wherever it goes."
  ~Author Unknown

Think this is a Fritillary

You’re My Butterfly
"Your are the most beautiful thing
I’ve ever seen
You shine just like sunlight rays
On a winter snow
I just had to tell you so
Your eyes sparkle as the stars
Like the moon they glow
Your smile could light the world on fire
Or did you know?
Your minds full of everything
That I want to know
I just had to let you know
I just had to tell you so
Your’re my butterfly
Fly high
Fly fly fly"
Lyrics/Song – Lenny Kravitz

That is it for butterflies for today, if I have any of the names wrong please let me know.
Thanks for joining me on my flight of fancy today.
I have some art news to share:
I am very pleased to say that my painting "Pretty in Pink" has been accepted into the "Just Flowers" juried show at the Newton Cultural Centre in April.
Also they have awarded me the Spotlight Cover Award for the exhibition, my painting will be featured on the cover of the April issue of Arts Council of Surrey's Spotlight on the Arts Magazine.
I finally figured out how to add a reaction bar to the end of my blog, so you can add a reaction to the blog even if you don't have a google ID.
That's all for this week, happy Wednesday, with whimsy,
I love to get your comments.


  1. Congrats re. Surrey (x2). Franz

  2. I love Butterflies! I have a poster from a Butterfly Sanctuary here in BC. Wonderful images!

  3. Fabulous pictures! Congrats on your picture!