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Eyed Brown

butterflyMelissa Blue Fine Art

I’m really enjoying getting to hang out at the farmer’s market every Wednesday afternoon. For so many years I was out in the field every day, covering miles, soaking up images I’d one day want to paint. Nowadays I’m grateful for the chair on the sidewalk, a new canvas on my lap ready to go.

I’ve been wanting to paint a series featuring our native butterflies. When I monitored butterflies at Illinois Beach State Park, there were over 40 species to keep track of! Many, like this Eyed Brown, were subtly colored, quietly beautiful. Just think~all these delicate strands of life woven together into ecosystems, flowing one into another. All interconnected. Taken all together, a robust thing. Yet, each strand fragile, vulnerable. How can I represent that vibrancy held so lightly in the wings of a butterfly?

24 thoughts on “Eyed Brown

  1. It’s so beautiful! I’ve never seen one. This is timely as it’s butterfly season here. I spied and photographed two on Saturday while in Point Reyes National Seashore. A Common Buckeye, and a mystery one. I can’t find an ID anywhere.

    I don’t think your Eyed brown is this far west, but I’ll check my book to see if it is.
    I’m so happy to hear you’re loving your studio, and the sidewalk.
    Are you thinking Shel Siverstein right now? I am!

    I’m planning to look for more butterflies with a friend on Friday. Perhaps, in Santa Cruz this time.

    1. Thank you Deborah! I’m happy you saw a Common Buckeye. They aren’t so common here and I really like them. Enjoy your butterfly hunt. I hope you get lots of pictures.
      I’ll think of you this afternoon when I am enjoying my Shel Silverstein moment 🙂

  2. “Taken all together, a robust thing. Yet, each strand fragile, vulnerable.”
    Lovely butterfly, lovely sentiment. The farmer’s market and sidewalk sound nice. 🙂

    1. Thank you.
      I wanted to tell you, I really love your posts but I cannot find a way to leave a comment. I find your beautiful photographs and thoughts very moving.

  3. Wow what a gorgeous butterfly and composition. I just love the colors too. What size is this, Melissa? Just lovely. 💜

    1. You are so kind, Laura~thank you! This painting is 6″ square. I’ve decided to work in series this summer, a whole flock of native butterflies on 6″ squares 🙂

      1. Oh, I love it. They’re sure to fly out of your shop! 😄😀🎨🌻👍🏼

  4. You are right about the many interconnected threads of nature. We are seeing countless numbers of examples as we walk each day.

    That painting would be best on the wall of a bright sunny room with flowers outside the window.

    1. That would be a happy place for it, for sure.

  5. This is lovely, Melissa. Your Eyed Brown reminds me of our Appalachian Brown.

  6. Thank you Steve. You’re right, it is similar to the Appalachian Brown. We also have Pearly Eyes and another whose name I don’t remember. I used to need a net to distinguish them on my route. It all came down to eye spots and squiggly lines on the hind wings 🙂

  7. The eyed brown is new to me, even though I’m brown-eyed (but I don’t fly).

    Too bad we never got to see the farmer’s market. It’s good that you’re enjoying it every Wednesday, and two months of summer remain.

    Happy painting to you.

    1. Thank you Steve. It is a nice farmer’s market. Do you have one that you like to go to?
      We are having a heat wave so I may have to abandon my sidewalk post. I’m hoping that the sun will be coming at a different angle in coming weeks and I’ll have a little shelter.

      1. We have a bunch of them in and around Austin but we don’t regularly go to any of them. The one we ended up liking the most of all was in Christchurch, New Zealand, last year.

  8. Hi Melissa,
    It is a delight to see your artwork on my screen again. The lightness, vibrancy and delicate details of a butterfly can be hard to capture but you’ve done a beautiful job. Watching them flutter about certainly is uplifting to the spirit, as is viewing your fine art. Thank you! 🙂

    1. This is just the kindest comment, Jane. Thank you!

  9. “Eyed brown” keeps tripping me up. I want to change it to brown-eyed, as in brown-eyed Susan, or the song “Brown-eyed Girl.” It’s a pretty thing, and even though I’ll not be seeing it here in Texas, I know now about BAMONA, which will help with identification of some I’ve seen recently.

    You’re right about the interlacing strands of life. I used to think there weren’t any butterflies around, but as I began spending more time in fields and ditches, I discovered they were everywhere — and danged difficult to photograph!

    I like the painting, and I recognized the dynamic here: “For so many years I was out in the field every day, covering miles, soaking up images I’d one day want to paint.” Some people think the dynamic is “see butterfly, paint butterfly,” just as they assume it’s “see grass, write about grass.’ But I don’t think that’s right. What happens internally, between the seeing and the re-creation, is equally important.

    After reading my current etheree about grass, a reader said, “As I read each line, I felt as if the grass was actually speaking to you – not that it would!” I grinned at that. The world does speak — we just have to hone our ability to listen.

  10. I’m so glad that you like my painting. They are pretty difficult to photograph, aren’t they? And yes, I know what you mean. Before I started monitoring I didn’t “see” many butterflies. Like most, I only really knew about Monarchs. Then when out in the field, I discovered how many there really were.
    Sadly, that is starting not to be the case. I am noticing that when I go in the field now, I see very few butterflies, of very few species, even in the heart of a nature preserve. I am hearing the same from other monitors. What is happening? I suspect it has to do with all the pesticides humans use. What a nightmare world we are creating.

  11. I love your idea of a series of butterfly paintings. They are such magical, delicate creatures with a wonderful variety of wing patterns. Your Eyed Brown is beautiful. I haven’t seen one before, but I have been trying to follow the few butterflies that I see on my walks. I wish I saw more… and that they posed more frequently. 🙂

  12. One of the blessings of living here is the abundance of bugs, including butterflies. I’ll miss them when I finally am able to move to my beloved Pacific Northwest (but it will be worth it! 🙂 ) They are tricky to catch in a photograph, that is for sure. I get lots of colorful blurs!

  13. A stunner!

    1. Thank you Saloni,
      I had more fun with these little butterfly paintings, and plan to continue the series next summer.

      1. Ooh, I’d love to see more of them!

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