Saturday, October 17, 2009
Vaya con Dios!
Royal Pair © 2009 Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 • acrylic on Gessobord
SOLD • private collection, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
I love monarch butterflies. But they don’t live here. We only get to see them in the fall, when they’re passing through on their way to sunny Mexico for the winter, and in the spring when they’re heading back up north.
When I was a kid, I had a book called The Travels of Monarch X, by Dr. Ross E. Hutchins ... I loved that book. That was such a long time ago, I was sure the book must be out of print by now, but I did a Google search and found the story here! (when you go there, scroll down a bit past all the scientific stuff for the actual story.)
One day last week, on one of those rare occasions when the sun was actually breaking through the storm clouds for a few minutes, I decided to head to town in hopes of accomplishing a few errands between downpours. When I stepped out onto the back porch I froze when I saw this little guy perched near the top of some tall grasses growing by the back steps (sometimes it actually pays to procrastinate on the weedeating), taking a little rest stop before continuing on his way south for the winter. As he sat there opening and closing his wings, just soaking up the sunlight, I held my breath and calculated how long it would take me to step back inside and run get my camera, which I had left upstairs on my desk, and trying to decide if I should stay here and try to memorize this painting op, or go ahead and fetch the camera on the off chance that this beauty would still be here when I got back. So I did a little of both. After burning this picture into my brain for a few long seconds, I ran to get the camera and when I came back he was still there! I had time to snap a few reference photos before he flitted away. When I was working on the composition for this painting, I decided to put two of him in it. Artist’s perogative!
Here are some brushwork details: