Butterfly Explosion

The Weekly Beading 3

Butterfly Explosion 01 – Sometimes I keep beautiful things for some future reason I do not know.  Probably 20 years ago I received a folder at a conference that had beautiful butterfly’s all over it.  Of course I kept it.  When going through my painting phase I decided to use it as a basis for a watercolor painting. (Pictured). Looked good.  When I needed inspiration for a new bead mosaic I pulled out the painting and knew it would make a great piece.  It only had a few butterfly’s but the colors and patterns would be a fun challenge.  It would also get me out of doing the fairly straight lined designs I had gotten complacent with.  Lots of curves and ways to use some accent beads, so I created Butterfly Explosion the original.  11x14 seemed large at the time and I wondered if people would like it.  I took it to my dad’s house and immediately his wife wanted to buy it. WOW a sale!  Family but okay.  It was a fun and exciting mosaic and I enjoyed the challenge so why not go large.  

First painting rendition in watercolor and Ink, created over 15 years ago.
Original Butterfly Explosion, one of my earliest mosaics. 11x14

I would create a huge explosion and feature every type of moth and butterfly pattern I could find.  Research and planning began and the base drawing grew.  When it reached the 40x24 size I had to stop because I didn’t have that much space in my studio. Laying the black lines took weeks as I had to cut every single 1/16” strip by hand and needed hundreds of them.  Still no color. When I started adding beads and colors to each butterfly I treated each as It’s own piece of art. Allowing the beads to tell me which colors and textures would be best for each one, which meant the realism factor was out the window but maybe butterfly’s dream of being other colors.  The accent beads were the funnest part, which ones would work? What did I have in my stash?  I also found that being so massive and taking so long (at this point 2 months) I needed to finish some aspect so I had motivation to continue.  That is when the blue background beads began going on.  Finally it felt like I could see it getting done and my motivation stayed in place.  
At around three months later it was finally done.  Wow what a ride, it was exhausting, now do I sell it?  Such a labor of love and my piece de’ resistance (at the time).  Would I ever make another?  (As with child birth we always say no more, but do it again anyway). I now create a new explosion mosaic about once per year so these beauties have inspired multiple mandalas, hot air balloons, tropical fish and now dragon flys.  Always with much anticipation and also much exhaustion when completed. These butterfly beauties have graced my walls for many years now and it’s so fun to see them bring smiles to the faces of show goers.  Since our move to Lake Tahoe we don’t have the right wall space to display them properly so I guess it’s time they find a home to fly to.