I’m a creative, experienced, multi-purpose artist and art director
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Friday, June 19, 2015


Monarch butterflies make a huge annual migration every year from Mexico to Canada, or the other way around. Interestingly, they only go one direction.  Mexican Monarchs lay eggs in Canada, then die.  Canadian butterflies lay eggs in Mexico, then die – but while Canadian butterflies are still en route, they have to fly over Lake Erie.  I’m sure you can understand that’s exhausting for a very small animal, so they hang out and rest for a while on my side of the lake.

The first time I saw this event, I didn’t understand what I was seeing at first.  I thought the trees were confused and thought it was autumn, or perhaps the trees were dying because they were orange in summer.  That just didn’t seem right.  I had to walk a bit before I was close enough to see that the orange was solid butterflies.

I went with a photographer friend to catch Canadians on film.   I took a lot of shots, then got bored because she kept shooting more pictures.  My method was find a butterfly, click.  Find another butterfly, click.  There’s only so much of that that I felt a need to do.

My friend was much more… oh, pick a derogatory adjective or adverb.  Or let’s just say she was methodical, picky, and tireless to my spontaneity.  It’s not like this was painting or something important to me – and I never ask anyone to hang out while I paint.  I just wanted a butterfly picture as filler for a newsletter or something.  I wandered off and amused myself with beach activities until she finally had enough.

We compared photos.  I got several of what I was looking for, perfect individual specimens.  She didn’t get any of those.  She took pictures of branches of Monarchs – which never occurred to me.  It didn’t occur to her to take pictures of individuals.  We both got good shots of the same event – that didn’t look remotely alike.

I sometimes think of this day as when my mind was expanded to include a different perspective.  I’d still take photos of individual Monarchs if I happened to be at the lake on the right day, but I’d take at least one photo of a whole tree too.

Maybe most important, I understood myself better.  I see small things, details, and don’t like to clutter stuff up with unnecessary items and extras.  There’s a good side to this, but sometimes I’m too Spartan too. It’s just the way I am.  I related to the butterflies and talked to them.  I felt sympathetic of their exhaustion.  My friend thought that was stupid.

It’s good to see things through someone else’s eyes sometimes.  Collaborating with someone, or getting feedback can help me see the whole tree, or maybe a branch, or at least 2 of something.  I made my friend see an individual.  I think we both grew.

Artist, know thyself –which helps me understand the clay of who I am and what I can do.

I can also warn you about the dangers of art because I was leaning off of a wet, slippery deck, stretching to pick the perfect leaf to use for leaf prints on a painting... well, you can see where this is going.  Thankfully I stopped my face from smashing into the brick patio, but I am bruised and sore.  Nobody understands how much I suffer for art!

This art was one of my first blog posts.  I know I have Monarch art somewhere, but it just seems like too much right now to dig through closets when I'm counting my boo boos, and I like this piece.  It's even my actual baby face.


  1. I'm glad no bones were broken Linda. The butterflies must be a spectacular sight, what effort they go to to reproduce. Your litttle baby in the caccoon is brilliant and fun to see your baby face.Have an easy weekend and rest up x

  2. Hooray for continuing to learn new things! Holy cow I would love to see branches full of monarchs. I think I would lean more toward the group shots myself, because wow what a sight! :D

  3. I think migration - birds, butterflies, turtles, whales... - is so fascinating. Exhaust yourself, reproduce, die. I bet the monarch "rest stop" provides quite the sites. And we can learn a lot looking through someone else's eyes!
    I hope your booboos heal quickly. Did you get that perfect leaf, at least??

  4. Linda, you write: "I see small things, details, and don’t like to clutter stuff up with unnecessary items and extras. There’s a good side to this, but sometimes I’m too Spartan too. It’s just the way I am. I related to the butterflies and talked to them. I felt sympathetic of their exhaustion. My friend thought that was stupid". I relate to this fully.

    My family does microscopic walks too: every bug, bird and butterfly is there to be admired by us. I call this Aristotelian; collecting details, studying the life and the divine in the smallest bird or stone. The details make it all so interesting.
    So, stay 'stupid' in the eyes of those who need grand and exciting things. Let us live in this amazing world that is full details to admire and small species to relate to.

  5. Thanks everybody! And no, I didn't get that perfect leaf. I'm even rethinking the leaf idea in the first place. I'm still moving around like an old lady, but getting better. Thanks for the kind thoughts.

    It's wonderful that we all look at things in different ways!

  6. From Susan (because Blogger is still eating comments!):
    I'd missed this piece of art the first time you used it, Linda...it's gorgeous! Your baby face gives me a deeper picture of you! And your description of collaborating, sharing perspectives gives me (an inveterate lone creative wolf) something to ponder. :-)

  7. Art is dangerous. It makes us lose control - probably like you friend with the butterflies. I have experience the same; working together with others, is a learning experience. It does make you understand yourself better - and open your eyes. You the moves of an old lady will soon be exchanged with the bounces of a foal..

  8. I'm looking forward to bouncing like a foal! I'm much better, but still creaky :) Maybe I'll be able to get up and around to work with someone again soon? Thanks!