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Butterfly at the Veil by Dawna Morton

Butterfly at the Veil, watercolor painting on gessoed canvas-board, by Dawna Morton, 2013.

I originally started this painting so I would have an entry for the local art associations art contest this summer, however life with 6 kids isn’t always conducive to having enough time to paint–and the kids come first 😉 I think I managed to get it done within about a month of the deadline. I had a photo of some ‘snow in summer’ flowers that I had taken through my front window as a photographic experiment after I got my new camera, and I loved the feel of the one this painting is based on –although the photo itself turned out a little blurry. I had a couple of small canvas boards a friend gave me for Christmas, and decided to use those to experiment with different media and effects for the background. Click here to see it as a work in progress, and to see some of the other background ideas I played with…

In order to quickly see how which background type looked best with the flowers, I printed out a copy of my reference photo and just cut them out of it so I could lay them over each of the canvases in turn. This worked extraordinarily well since the canvases weren’t much bigger than my printout. I ended up going with this purple watercolor because it more closely mimicked the feel I was looking for. with the deadline looming I decided to trace the paper cut out onto the canvas to save time. Hopefully nobody feels like that was cheating. I ten drew in the details and made some alterations–such as changing which direction the main blossom was facing. I also moved the flowers on this side of the window and suggested a curtain with light coming through it instead of a screen and the edge of the windowsill with the flowers outside. Then I added a butterfly to balance everything out and add some additions interest.

Everything was coming along nicely until the three-year-old got a hold of it. One of those moments where the house was suspiciously quiet for entirely too long prompted me to figure out what she was up to. She had managed to get herself into the art room and nabbed the paints and was happily painting away in a bold red. Thankfully She had laid a few pieces of paper across the top first–which caught the worst of it; however, there was still the problem of bright red splotches on a very simple all purple palette.

Luckily the red lifted off of the gessoed surface beautifully, and I did not have to go with plan b — adding a bunch of red flowers to the right hand corner.

As I was working on the composition and painting a symbolic meaning to everything came into play. The three sections of curtain across the window is a sort of representation of God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost–united yet separate and distinct at the same time as they are one. Then there is the light coming through the curtain –which represents  inspiration, revelation and those moments when we feel that heaven is near. Truly the veil is thin sometimes. This is also a reference to the temple and going there for additional revelation, inspiration, peace and to be spiritual uplifted. The butterfly is a representation of being visited by the Holy Ghost, which was inspired by an article I read to my children many years ago in the Friend magazine about how being reverent is like sitting quiet and still so you can catch a butterfly, or feel the Holy Ghost. The flowers are a representation of each of us, as we grow and blossom in readiness to hear, inspiration is more frequent and clear, and easier to understand– and in turn spiritual light nourishes us so we can grow and blossom. And of course: God is the source of all light (revelation inspiration, and so on) and we are completely dependent on them. The overall feel and tranquility in this painting is symbolic of how we feel when we commune with God and the peace and comfort He sends us through the Holy Ghost.

You can find “Butterfly at the Veil” for sale as a print at FineArtAmerica, imagekind, Redbubble, zazzle , and Amazon. So far the original is not for sale. The family loves it too much 😉

Images and content on this blog are the intellectual property of  Dawna Morton (unless otherwise stated).

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