Silver-Spotted Skipper


Silver Spotted Skipper

Any suggestions for a title?

When I was a new grownup, ( πŸ™‚ ) and a new volunteer in the world of prairie restoration, the flowers and creatures I was being introduced to made lasting impressions on me. One pairing that was absolutely iconic to me was silver-spotted skippers flocking to the stand of monarda fistulosa in a small restored prairie in Peoria. I just never saw one without the other. When my family moved up here near the Wisconsin border I never saw the skippers. I missed their flash~ isn’t it a striking looking butterfly? Then last spring we vacationed in North Carolina. I was absolutely stunned to see this fellow getting nectar on a grape hyacinth! I was able to get a good photo of him but when push came to shove, I had to paint him on his “proper” nectar source.

37 thoughts on “Silver-Spotted Skipper”

  1. That’s another commonality: the silver-spotted skipper also lives in central Texas, even though I’ve never knowingly seen one. As a painter, you have a freedom a photographer doesn’t, to put the butterfly on a native rather than alien wildflower. I’ve seen grape hyacinths in Austin, too.

    1. Yeah, I was feeling pretty smug about that. Also was the factor of time~I’m used to seeing them in late July or early August, not in February. North Carolina really felt magical and other-worldly with its soft fragrant air filled with birdsong just hours after we’d left iron-hard cold Illinois. Here’s an irony for you~Paul is threatening to move to Texas! I wish I could say I want to go too, but you know where my heart lies.

      1. Yes, I know quite well where you’d like to go. Of course Texas is so large that how happy you’d feel here depends on what part of Texas you’d be in. Any part of the state is a lot warmer than Illinois, as you confirmed in North Carolina.

  2. I love the ethereal and fleeting quality of this beautiful painting, Melissa. As for a title, I know from my mother, who also paints, that it can be notoriously difficult to pick the right one, so I would not presume to suggest anything! πŸ™‚

  3. This is a really lovely painting, especially appreciated when I’m living in a white, gray, and brick-colored world right now. “a skipper becalmed”? (bee balm + sailing ship at rest)

  4. Thank you Jim. This was what I was after. I kept finding myself bogging it down with detail and then going over it with frustrated washes until finally it fell into place. ….I mean, er, I meant to do that!

  5. This is so pretty. Each time I look at your art I wish I could sketch / draw / paint. I feel it must be very therapeutic and good for the soul. Did you learn the skills or are they a natural gift?

    1. High praise, Andrew. Thank you! I can say the same when I am admiring your adroit use of the camera. The inclination is inborn, and I imagine it is the same as your’s as you have a gifted eye. The skills are learned. I could teach you if only we lived near each other. If you are serious, please do jump in. You are right about it being good for the soul. I can’t live without it.

  6. I like the simplicity and the colors – its a beautiful painting. How about “Alighted” for a title?
    I see lots of Silver Spotted Skippers in Massachusetts in mid-summer – surprised they don’t fly in Wisconsin.

    1. Thank you Tom. I love “Alighted”! That is wonderful. I’m delighted to learn that you see lots of them. Aren’t they dashing? I really like them. In recent years I have started seeing them but not often and not in any numbers like they are in Peoria.

      1. I’m delighted you like the title! Silver Spotted Skipper caterpillars feed on legumes, in my area they are common where you find Black Locust trees. Maybe there isn’t enough of the preferred foodplant where you are…

    1. Thank you so much Deborah πŸ™‚ One of the things I’ll miss when I leave Illinois one day is the bugs~ we have lots and lots of bugs. (Although not as many as formerly~thanks Monsanto 😦 😦 )

  7. Absolutely lovely… the colors and the delightful flutterby and flower. I’m not at all good with titles, so can’t offer any suggestions. Looks like you’ve already had some though!

    1. It’s fun to hear what thoughts others have. Once in awhile inspiration will strike and I’ll know exactly what to call a painting, but not often. I’m so happy you like this little painting. Thank you! πŸ™‚

  8. hehe, you asked for title suggestions…I’m torn between the very practical gathering of nectar at it’s favorite, everyday source, and the airy, light background and memory/setting of the piece. So I thought of Light Lunch.

  9. Lovely :-). I like your flower choice. I don’t think I’ve seen wild bergamot in Edmonton, but I did occasionally come upon one in the grasslands of Calgary. Always a treat – they’re so beautiful. The only skippers I see here are European Skippers. Lots and lots of them. I think I photographed another skipper species too, but I forgot to tag those photos, so I may never find them again! It was fun to discover this skipper in your painting.

    I read your comment about initially painting the background with more detail and then painting some of the detail out. My eyes were so strongly drawn to the butterfly and flower that I initially didn’t notice the details that were left in the background. But I’m glad I gave the background a closer look because I found some interesting spaces. I particularly like the way the lower leaves emerge from the background – the play of colours, and the mixture of hard and soft edges… And I just noticed that I may have been looking at the painting too close up. From a distance, the overall atmosphere of the background totally popped out at me. The magic of abstraction!

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