Thursday, May 28, 2009

“Le Papillon”

Small work, charcoal and white pastel on Mylar, 9×7”

This young French student artist wandered into my studio one evening during our open studio event. I liked her look and thought she would be a good model for my Black Butterfly series, so I asked if she would mind posing for a few photos. We had a fun visit, and she showed me her lovely Moleskine sketch journal and we also exchanged emails.

I took quite a few great photos of Melodie, so I most likely will do another small work or two from them. She was a delight. Also, I am happy to realize that “Melodie” is the Muse of Music.

These small studies present their own challenges. I like to complete them in one sitting and the scale is difficult for detail, but I feel that I did capture the subject's hopefulness and creativity in this small work.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Playing With Fire

"Playing With Fire" From the “Black Butterfly: The Muse” series.

Charcoal on mylar film, in vintage c. 1924 frame, with bubble type glass. 18×12” overall, framed. Completed in two sessions.

Luna moth.

Candle from my own reference photo.

I'm still exploring the idea of how the muse can have negative effects on the personality. Here, the moth may be consumed by the irresistible flame of it's "muse."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Janis Joplin portrait for the "Black Butterfly" series, charcoal on mylar, 24 x 16" from a photo by Bob Seidemann. The wings are from a "Mother of Pearl" butterfly, and the background is inspired by Janis's song "Half Moon" - here pictured as the waning moon.

Lyrics: "Half moon, night time sky, Seven stars, Heaven’s eyes"

I watched many Youtube videos and bios while creating this. "Pearl" packed so much living into 27 years, and her death was a great loss to the music scene.

In the "Black Butterfly" works, butterflies represent the artist's muse, and my subjects are always those who are involved in the creative arts; musicians, actors, poets, or visual artists. I’m currently using pop figures or artistic friends I’ve met in person or on the internet as models, incorporating classical subjects from literature, or Gods and Goddesses from various cultures in addition to the butterfly/muse theme. I'm interested in the idea of the ways the artist’s muse and gifts can also have negative effects on the ego, and of course the butterfly metaphor of death and transformation is a strong element in this piece.