June Exhibit Entries
Wildflowers, Butterflies and the Art of Staying True to Yourself
I’ve always loved a challenge. As an artist, it’s easy to fall into the habit of drawing or painting the subjects you know you can do well and avoiding those that you feel more unsure of. The thing is, it is by entering that unknown territory and tackling the more tricky subjects that you grow and develop. You gain new skills and take what you have learned into your next project.
Here is where themed art shows come in. This month for the first time, I decided to create a couple of pieces for the EBSQ themed monthly exhibits. I felt it would be a great way to stretch myself a little, but then the thought occurred to me, how do I produce something that fits into a theme, which seems totally unrelated to my usual subject matter, whilst retaining my own individual style?
The first theme I chose to tackle was ‘Wildflowers’. I have painted flowers before, usually as an adornment in a faerie’s hair, or to add interest to the surrounding scenery, so wildflowers shouldn’t pose too much of a problem, right? Yes, I could paint a field full of poppies, or dandelions, but it doesn’t really say Gothic fantasy art, does it? I spent a morning drinking coffee (it’s a hard life) and leafing through gardening and wildlife books, looking for inspiration. That’s when I saw it, and I knew exactly what I was going to do.
Clover is a plant, which is often considered a troublesome weed, but holds many childhood memories for me. I remember lazily counting the tiny leaves on the school field, hoping to find the rare four leaved variety, and marveling at the intricate detail in those delicate purple flowers. With the right camouflage, a patch of clover would be the ideal place for a tiny faerie to hide. I remembered seeing a jade green moth, resting on a leaf in my garden. It’s wings blended perfectly with the surrounding foliage. It occurred to me, that if faeries were to live in urban gardens, they would need a similar form of defense.
The result was ‘Clover’, an 8 x 10 inch acrylic painting, which aims to capture the spirit and essence of the flower, but remains true to my own style. You can view the Wildflowers exhibit here. Anybody can vote for their favourite by clicking the Facebook ‘Like’ button next to the picture.
Pleased with my effort in the Wildflowers exhibit, I simply couldn’t resist entering the EBSQ ‘Butterflies and Moths‘ exhibit. Butterflies have always fascinated me. I have often taken elements from species found in nature and adapted them to create faerie wings, but I thought this exhibit would be a good opportunity to develop my skills, to really study a butterfly and paint it as it is. The European Peacock butterfly [Inachis io] is a frequent visitor to my garden in summer, and without a doubt, one of the UK’s most beautiful species. However, their delicate beauty is short lived and nature can be cruel. In the 5 x 7 inch painting ‘Beauty & Cruelty’, a tragic end to this butterfly’s short life means survival for the spider. I learned a lot from painting this one. Never before have I studied the detail in those colourful wings so closely. I am looking forward to taking the experience into my future work. I have a feeling that Peacock butterflies will be making further appearances in my paintings … though perhaps in faerie form!