The fragility of nature and our impact on it inspired me to create this series. I wanted to create a bug-sized view of the world using the caterpillars in their environment. The colors in the painting are intentionally bold to express how intense and difficult their lives can be. But despite the challenges they face, they are resilient and strong. The central theme of the series revolves around the tenacity of nature, specifically focusing on the Black Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillars that showed up in my back porch garden. The paintings depict these caterpillars in a forest-like setting, highlighting the intensity of their struggle to survive and thrive.
These Caterpillars are often considered a pest. But I decided to give my herbs over to these creatures due to the butterfly population dwindling at an estimated rate of 1.6% per year in the Western region, according to a study that sourced more than 40 years of data.* I wanted to have a positive impact on my environment. So they chomped, and they ate all the leaves off the plants. What was startling to me was that a week later the plants had started to recover, and were displaying leaves. The parsley plant especially seemed to have been growing leaves underground while the caterpillars were there and put up full leaves after they departed.
I was fascinated by their transformation into Black Swallowtail Butterflies, and my spiritual beliefs about our shared responsibility as stewards of the earth inspired me to take an active role in helping them thrive. By showcasing the resilience of these caterpillars and their ability to recover from adversity, I hope to inspire my audience to engage with nature in a spiritual and responsible manner.
Ultimately, I want my audience to interpret these paintings as a call to action to be proactive in helping and encouraging nature to flourish. By appreciating the beauty of these tiny creatures and seeing ourselves as part of the natural world, we can all play a role in preserving and protecting the planet we call home.
This series is created using oil on linen.
* Science Daily, March 4, 2021