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recent work >  monarchs and milkweeds
Recent Paintings of Monarchs and Milkweeds

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Monarchs and Milkweeds

Solar Print Giclée, Watercolor, Gouache, Color Pencil

This series of mixed media original works on paper focuses on Monarch butterflies and the milkweed plants that sustain the caterpillars.

There’s a field behind my home that is full of milkweeds, wildflowers, insects, and birds. It’s shared by my extended family and is an endless source of intrigue and inspiration.

The Monarch butterflies start showing up in midsummer. We all are on the lookout for them, and there might even be a small, unspoken competition to be the first to spot one. There are a few paths running through the field that join our houses, and here, the milkweed shoots up before the grass has a chance to grow tall. The young, tender shoots, unencumbered by other plants, seem to be a favorite spot for Monarchs to lay their eggs.

Thanks to my friend Lynn Yenkey showing me what to look for, I occasionally collect these and wait for the miniscule caterpillars to emerge. They munch their way into being big, fat caterpillars that change into a chrysalis. If I’m vigilant, I’ll see the live-action metamorphosis occur before my eyes. It takes only a few minutes. The chrysalis is beautiful beyond description. It has what looks like real gold along the edges, resembling a crown, which may have led to its moniker.

Later, if I’m really lucky, I’ll watch the butterfly emerge from the chrysalis.

Learning about the Monarch’s migration and having witnessed firsthand this strange phenomenon of caterpillar-to-butterfly has deeply cemented my admiration for them. This series is an homage both to this compelling creature and to the field it visits each year.

This project has been supported by the New York State Council on the Arts and CNY Arts.

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