Flutterby and Flower #1

dsc_2969Here’s the first for my new series  – I’m calling the series Flutterby and Flower because all the hashtags with butterfly were already taken on social media sights!  This one is the Black Swallowtail on wild carrot (queen-anne’s-lace) – it likes anything in the parsley family: celery, dill, cilantro, etc. I grow these in my garden every year- as much for the butterflies as myself! dsc_2965

The caterpillar starts out black and spiky when it’s small.  It has the two orange horns – osmeterium – scent glands that stay retracted unless threatened.  The chrysalis starts out green and then turns clear and shows the compact butterfly.  This illustration shows the male adult – females show less of the yellow markings.   ….I’m realizing now the reason there are no comprehensive field guides out there – there are just too many things to show for each butterfly!


Butterflies Series

I’ve always loved butterflies…it comes with my love of gardening.  My oldest son and I started a butterfly collection when he was 8 and he continued to fill the shadow boxes through the years.  It’s quite a nice collection now.   Over the summer I started a little field guide of my own with the adult wings, caterpillar, and chrysalis of the common butterflies found in Maine.   Here are a few of the pages:




It was such enjoyable work and it made me wonder how I could attract more of these beauties to my garden, so I did some research on the caterpillar’s food/habitat.  I’ve always kept milkweed somewhere in the garden for the Monarchs and I painted this piece last year:


This winter I want to do a series of these butterflies with their primary food source and in each life stage – egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, and adult butterfly!  The first one I’m going to do is the Black Swallowtail  – I’ve just got the ink down, so I’m ready to paint:



Do you have a favorite butterfly?  What ones would you like to see me illustrate?  I’ll be posting my series here all this winter  – stay tuned!




Two days a week I wait while my oldest son does tutoring at the Dyslexia Center, then I also have half an hour while the boys are at their guitar and piano lessons…so, three afternoons a week I have “enforced productive creative time”.  I have a watercolor journal and slim tin for all my pencils/pens – they fit in my purse and go with me everywhere.  I can doodle, draw, or sketch while I’m waiting at my appointments.  Here’s just a couple pages from this month:


I usually wait till I get home to do the painting – but If I want to I do have a compact little travel set I could bring along ; )


I’m really enjoying this little journal – it’s a great size for travel, it opens nice and flat, good quality paper, and lovely cover – you can get one HERE.  The last page I did yesterday and I’ll paint tonight after the family’s in bed for the night.


Life and Art


Being creative is not so much a choice as a compulsion – I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t create.  I’ve designed and sewed my own clothing, decorated my home (sewing curtains, pillow slips, etc.), I’ve landscaped and have many future plans for the gardens around my home, and I paint from all the inspirations around me.  I believe beauty should be cultivated, increased, shared, and enjoyed – and that is what I hope to accomplished with all these creative endeavors!


So, how to balance that with being a wife, mother, homemaker, daughter, friend, sister….the priorities and purposes of life?   Here are some of the goals and practices I hope to habituate in my life:

I get up between 7:00 and 8:00, make coffee or tea, start the boys on their schoolwork, then check e-mails, start laundry, do dishes, etc… Mornings are normally spent doing school/housework, in the afternoons I run errands and go to appointments, 5:30 is sit-down dinner with the family, then, in the evenings, after everyone else goes to bed, I have time for creative work.  (Of course, any down-time I can snatch during the day will be used for creativity too!)

I find that I am creative in waves, not necessarily linked to a specific time in a day. I’ll spend days being really excited and engaged in creative work and then days where the idea of creating anything just feels like a chore.  I give myself space when I feel like I’m in a rut. I will usually go out to work in my gardens, walk in the woods, gather things from nature to take home…


Cultivating a clean, cozy, welcoming, atmosphere at home helps me to relax and enjoy my creative time.  If it’s dirty and cluttered around me that takes my attention away from anything else I’m trying to do.  Having a light/bright, open, calm space is so important to me!  I love the light and warmth of sunshine streaming in my windows and I like the peaceful tones of whites and naturals…creating that space to work in then allows me to be creative in that space ; )


Being a stay-at-home-mom, I’m always on the job – life is my work – but I’m the one who gets to decide how much I work and how much I play.  I need to keep productive and yet allow myself to just enjoy the good things in life – I’m certainly never going to run out of things to do!  Almost every day I make a list of what needs to be done. Once the list is done I stop working. That means that there is incentive to get things done and it also means that when I am not working I am not constantly thinking about all the tasks waiting for me to do.

How about you?  How do you manage home/work/hobbies, and motivate/inspire yourself?



Autumn Flowers

Autumn is SO beautiful!!!  I painted these fall flowers today while the boys played outside – we went for a walk through the woods twice this week and found the greatest variety of mushrooms and pretty red maple leaves…I’m soaking in every sunny day and breathing deeply the breezes smelling of crisp leaves and pine needles!