Sunday, July 20, 2008

Black Butterfly

It was our 28th wedding anniversary yesterday, so I did this as a gift to Steve. The past month or so working on the portrait ended up being a kind of intense period of introspection for me as well. I think this was partly because of completing my White Album series of portraits of my kids, and feeling more like concentrating on myself at last, but it has also been a time of personal growth and transformation.

There were several unusual spiritual moments for me while working on this portrait. One was a near out of body experience while on a walk in the park, which spurred me to write my first poem in 30 years. You can read the poem "Fairfield Avenue" back further in my blog. A few days later, I started seeing black butterflies. Not so unusual in summer I suppose, but I don't remember seeing this particular type in Chicago, maybe it's due to our changing weather patterns. The odd thing was that I had just found a photo of a black butterfly online at RedBubble
had favorited it and commented on it. Then a black butterfly fluttered around me several times while I was walking that same afternoon! It happened again a couple of days later, this black butterfly flying in loops around me as I walked. Odd that the only black ones I saw, also seemed to notice me as well! Almost like they knew of my transformation. So, that inspired my second poem, "Black Butterfly" and I decided to incorporate a black butterfly into the drawing.

Just a couple of days ago I came up with a way to add the text of the poem to my work. I used my home printer to print the text onto a letter sized portion I cut from the pink backing paper. After I printed it, I pieced it back together with acid free tape. The mylar film is translucent, so the text shows through in a subtle way.

The piece was made to fit a vintage distressed frame I found at my local antique shop. It is really in a bad way, but I think it suits me - I'm a bit rough at the edges myself these days. But I figured it's now or never to expose more of myself. :)

Steve likes the gift by the way.

The Poem:

Black Butterfly

Bemusing muse

Black butterfly

Came through the ether

Mystical wings

Encircled me along the way

Enraptured on a summer day

Music painted on the sky

Black butterfly

Blown in from far off dust

Astral soul

Dressed in stardust

Black butterfly

Draw me perfect

Emergent from this coal black shell

Wet wings spread in joy to stand


Flawless at the artist's hand

Evanescent passion lies

In our wavelengths intertwined

Black butterfly

Never caught

Light gently in the mind

Bring luminous thought

(c) Alice McMahon White 2008

"Black Butterfly" 22 x 18" charcoal on mylar drafting film (c) Alice McMahon White

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