Moonbird and butterfly

moonbird“Moonbird”, acrylic, sand and gesso texture on illustration board, 15 X 20″

A watery fantascape from the imagination that I sort of finished today.  Sort of, because it has to sit around a few days until I see what last  touches it needs.  It always helps to see it on the computer where certain parts scream out “fix me!”.

Sometimes everyday reality gets closer to the mystical than my paintings.  Yesterday I was feeling rather stressed out, having just paid bills and oh you know what’s in the news these days – TV, newspapers and friends’ stories.  And a strong wind had just blown up.  There clinging to the door jam was a brand spanking new Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly, having just metamorphosed from a crysalid form – not even aware yet of it magical wings that would take to the air.  All sparkly and velvety (midnight blue and silvery black with bright orange dots). I gently picked it up and it clung to my finger with those delicate insect feet and slowly tried opening and closing those diaphanous wings.  I put it in a shoe box until the wind died down later, and it was still my friend.  It might still be traveling around with  me on my shoulder if I hadn’t coaxed it back into the wild.  So how could I stay stressed when there’s this kind of magic in the world? Like this moonbird, both  magical companions from the natural world.

Magic and mystery.  Totally independent from me, my husband just posted on his blog a discussion of mystery as the source of true art.  You have to check it out.  Not very surprising I guess, that our minds run on parallel tracks.



  1. What an extraordinary painting, Susan! I am deeply amazed by all these structures and colours, and their wonderful interaction. The most wonderful seascape I have ever seen!


  2. Oh Miki! Thank you for being one of my greatest enthusiasts. And just this morning I was looking at this painting and it was telling me what was not quite right yet (but not how to fix it!) Much better to have your voice in my head.


  3. Susan, you’ve posted so much, I have to catch up here…
    This one is a total winner! I suppose you could do more to it. But I don’t feel anything lacking when I look at it. My eye keeps running between the moon and the bird, such depth. And all that amazing water in between…


  4. Mystery and Magic

    The wind howled for
    metamorphosis but her hope was thin
    as a butterfly’s wing and she gripped
    the threshold of
    the Mystery with desperate
    claws, barely tasting
    its promise. Simple fear
    prevented surrender of
    the comfortable cocoon she had
    settled for. But
    wild magic was in the air and
    when the Pipevine Swallowtail presumed
    to navigate the immense sky on a few
    diaphanous wings, her spirit leapt
    upon its tiny shoulders.

    She didn’t expect to glimpse
    courage in such a small
    package, never
    mind in midnight
    blue and silvery black with
    bright orange dots. Oh
    wasn’t it just
    like the Mother to jest

    like that.


  5. Spacing or not, Carol, your poem is exquisite! And I would like to post it with the painting and with the proper spacing if possible.
    The connection you made between my two magical nature creatures – both clinging bravely and both releasing so bravely into the mystery. . .sigh.. .Thank you.


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