Saturday, February 26, 2011

Abstracting a mud puddle

How do you paint a mud puddle?

That was the challenge I faced with this painting of swallowtail butterflies "puddling." From what I've read, this is a common behavior with many types of butterflies. They will gather in these groups for the purpose of extracting moisture and nutrients from soggy, damp areas.

I photographed this group of butterflies several years ago at Holly River State Park. I found the photograph a few weeks ago and became interested in the visual path created by this grouping of the butterflies.

But, that darned mud puddle. I really did not know how to handle the surroundings, so I decided to make a move toward abstraction to simplify what I was seeing.

In the effort, the darkest areas helped reinforce the interior structure that helps guide the viewer's eye through the group of butterflies.

I liked this effort so well that I'm attempting it again in a larger format. I plan to try some different techniques in the larger version, so stay tuned!

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