My First Butterfly Painting…
I have often been asked how my first butterfly painting came about. A few years back, I was creating an Installation piece about Cuba. The political, historical and cultural aspects of this country fascinated me. My Installation comprised of three dilapidated walls, printed bunting with images of Castro with the Cuban flag gradually morphing into the American flag. There was Rumba playing on a 50s radio, an image of Guantanamo Bay with barbed wire and a painting of Butterflies.
There was also an old chair, so the public could come and sit within the three walls and experience my version of Cuba.
I had read a piece of Cuban literature that spoke of Cubans in Exile. They had escaped their island for a better life in the US and although their material needs were covered, their souls longed for the warmth, richness and camaraderie of the island of their roots.
The Butterfly is the universal symbol of the human spirit and can be found in Aztec, Mayan, and Greek cultures. In Medieval times in Ireland it was illegal to kill white butterflies because they were thought to be the souls of children.
I created a colour composition which expressed the colours of Cuba, all the turquoise blues of the Caribbean waters and the richness of its people. I then placed butterflies symbolising the Cuban souls returning to their island after they passed on into the spirit world.
I had recently divorced and found the painting also worked on a profound personal level. Having been in darkness for a while, I was coming out into the light. Several people encouraged me to produce a series of Butterfly paintings about Transformation and the Human Spirit’s ability to overcome difficulties.
I was invited to show my paintings at several galleries across the country and abroad and can now clearly see that my Butterfly painting, in turn,Transformed my own life. As Picasso said “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working”.