To live and enjoy every day to its fullest, use my gifts to help others, I travel to wherever passion finds me.

What Will She Paint?

So many friends I met here...!

Thursday, April 30, 2009


Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Mo, Take this Tiger by the Toe, If he hollors let him go, Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Mo. Eenie, Meenie, miney, Mo. O.U.T. spells out.
(For international readers: it's a children's deciding rhyme).

This is on my table, and I'm saying this children's rhyme to myself, because I need to decide what to do for the background of the butterfly that Mingfei has given me permission for, to paint(on my blog roll).
When I saw the pic I thought the body looked stunning. The sunlight revealed all its details, so you can see with a little imagination that once it was a fuzzy caterpillar.

This seems to be a season of new things. I never painted a butterfly, and I never painted a bird, that I by now have finished for Joan from South African Photographs. The latter one you'll get to see later.

Painting is a comfort right now to distract me from returning thoughts about the tragedy that happened in the Netherlands on the celebration of Queen Beatrix's birthday. A man who lost his job and was evicted from his home, purposefully plowed into the crowd with his car, killing and wounding several people. He actually intended to reach the bus where the Queen would come in. I may not live in Holland, but a part of my heart is still there.

Back to the background. Why is that so important? A background could make the focus (butterfly) shine, or it could take away from the focus.
Three possibilities.

Number one.
The "safe" way is to choose one of the colors I used for the butterfly. The eye does this automatic mixing thing (it does not need a machine like at Home Depot where you have to stand in line to get your paint mixed!). The eye see its as a unified picture, while it picks up particles of the same color throughout the scene. Our eye is a cool thing!

Number two:
this possibility would choose a color in contrast to the yellow-orange of the wings. Such a color would make the butterfly really pop. But... a complimentary color like purple or blue will push the painting also in a certain interior decorating scheme.

Number three:
some kind of nature scene could serve as a background. That may put the butterfly in a main stream category. The more popular the subject, the harder it is to make an unusual painting.

Take your pick (or not, LOL). I'm going to sleep on it for a while. Or maybe even wait a few days. You are welcome to give your view on it, and no harm done if you don't have an opinion about it!


SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

It is beautiful Jeannette!! I saw this one on Mingfei's blog and you have really done it justice. See how easy it is painting outside of your usual realm!! If you have the eye for it, you can paint anything. You sure have a dilema as far as the background is concerned and it is not something you can 'delete' if you do not like what you paint.

I have been working on the magazine but it is going to be a while before it gets going so maybe you want to post the bird here in the meantime? It is too beautiful not to show your followers!! :)

The Gossamer Woman said...

I think maybe a branch of leaves would do, but I'm no art critic, just a casual observer. It just seems to be a natural habitat. It's a very beautiful butterfly and the colors are amazing. I know they exist like this in nature, it being stranger than life.


MuseSwings said...

I had to enlarge the picture to see whether this is a real butterfly or not. Not - but beautifully realistic. I think a cream background might do the trick. I'll check back later - cant wait to see the suggestions you'll be getting and your final decision!

Whitemist said...

Oh, Jeannette! What choices!
For me, it would depend on my mood!
I do not believe I would ever choose number 3, it is not me, but that does not speak for you.
Number 2 speaks to me, but I would not do just a plain back ground.
Truthfully I might take a different approach creating a faint and blurry image of wings spreading outward, very faint and light to dark going out with a contrasting background. But that is me today, at this moment!
I can not wait to see how you proceed.

Gaston Studio said...

Well Jeanette, I guess you're going to have to decide if you want to paint it commercially or just for fun!

I'd probably go for something soft and subtle so as to not distract from the beautiful butterfly.


Gary Rith Pottery Blog said...

I love looking at your work. :)

DUTA said...

I'm sure whatever you decide, will be the best choice. (I'm for the "safe" way - nr.1).

The butterfly brings to my memory 'the Valley of the Butterflies' on the island of Rhodes with thousands of multi-colored butterflies from June to September.

PJ said...

The nature scene appeals to me most, Jeannette. But what about a mosaic, or is that too predictable?

Dick said...

I advice the nature background, can't give a good reason I guess I like things as they are in nature.
Yes terrible things here, it makes me feel sad.

Mingfei said...

WOW, you've done it well! I would choose a grassland with both old yellow and new green grass. This could be a good one because the colour is similar to the butterfly's but not the same. And from the grass people can understand it was flying in spring that the grass is changing into green.

I have known the accident in Holland. May they all be fine now.

jeannette stgermain said...

Wow you have a lot of confidence in me!! True, I can't "delete" but with pastel I can paint several layers over it (if I make a mistake), and because it's done on paper that feels like sandpaper, so many layers of pastel will "hold."

If I post the bird before, it might deter some people from going to the magazine, thinking that they've seen it already.

jeannette stgermain said...

Yes, I can see what you're saying - all the creatures in nature are so different and beautiful to look at,I can see now how people never can stop taking photos, because there is always something new to shoot. These blogs widen my horizon, also artistically.

jeannette stgermain said...

To get the realism in this butterfly was a sinch, after The Forest of Dick's blog, and the Dikkop bird of Joan's blog (which you'll see after a while), because there is more room for error.
If you make one mistake with the 2 mentioned paintings, it sets off the collapse of a row of dominos.

Yes, hope you'll check back in a few days! Talk to you then:)

jeannette stgermain said...

You're right, it depends on my mood too. You bring up an interesting possibility - some kind of wavy pattern went through my mind - I'll have to think about that some more. Thanks, I can always count on you, speaking your mind (that's a compliment:) )

jeannette stgermain said...

That was my first impulse, to go commercial, but now I'm reading it, I think, Naah, that's not you (meaning me). I hope I never will come in a position that I'll sell myself out for something I don't want to do because of money. But I know, never say, "Never."

jeannette stgermain said...

the same with your work! love looking at it. Do your students show their other art work (not pottery, that is) to you?

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you - I've heard of the island, but didn't know about the butterflies there! I'm beginning to think that reading all of the reader's suggestions, may make it harder, LOL

jeannette stgermain said...

thanks for your suggestion. A mosaic wouldn't be predictable at all -of course depending on how I do it, the butterfly may become part of the mosaic. I don't know if I am that skilled yet, to pull it off with the butterfly still being the focus (it's nice you can do that with a camera!)

jeannette stgermain said...

Looking at your blog it's easy to see you like nature:) - I received your email about the painting - glad that that size worked out.
I thought that such violence and anger never could happen in Holland. Is that overall changing in the netherlands?

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you. With your photos, even though they are about nature, I think you have an artistic eye. Any inclinations in that area when you were younger?

I think it will be a while before people in Holland will return to business as usual. To have a queen or king is a very different feeling than a president who comes and goes. To live in a kingdom, even though the king or queen does not have as much political power as before (which is good), is still the old world view. China had kings before, so you can kind of imagine what it is.

The Muse said...

I see it atop a book of open prose...whose pages are fluttering in the gentle spring breeze. The pair (the book and the butterfly), nestled in lush green field or meadow.



Michelle said...

Me, I would go the blue or purple in some way.....but that's me, I love orange and blue's beautiful and I can't wait to see it finished :)

Chrisy said...

It's lovely...I'd use a slate grey...

jeannette stgermain said...

Mingfei - sorry for the ypo in your name!

jeannette stgermain said...

The Muse,
how poetic you are - thank you. I would be an idea to have this for a book cover, wouldn't it?

Please, leave me a link, I tried to look up your blog, but I can't, because with your "follow" -thank you, by the way - is no link, and of course I forgot to write down your URL when I visited you:)

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you Michelle! orange and blue or purple would be the perfect opposite in the colorwheel...

jeannette stgermain said...

Wow, when I read it, I saw it right in front of me - that would be a great combination - can you tell, this is my first orange painting LOL

Dick said...

Things are changing in the Netherlands, the same as everywhere I suppose. This world has a lot of good things but it seems the bad things are overruling more and more.

Lillie said...

Gorgeous butterfly..I would go with a nature background, on some leafy plants or even a rock.

The incident was indeed a sad day on Queens day.

jeannette stgermain said...

A sad tendency. When you live abroad for a long time, the short visits to family really don't tell you if things have changed a lot. Thanks for writing back!

jeannette stgermain said...

Lillie, thanks you for your suggestion. I thought of a leafy plant. A rock could be very interesting!
And thank you for your comment about Queen Beatric's birthday.

Mingfei said...

I do thick I have plenty of artistic cells, LOL. When I was young, I enjoying singing alone the TV programs, and I also painted a lot and paste them on the wall of the corridor. It's very interesting experience. Now I paint fewer but still love singing. I didn't take photos before my university life, while my father was crazy about it. Maybe I was affected deeply by him.

jeannette stgermain said...

Was just on your blog to find the scientific name of the butterfly you posted and i painted, but somehow I can't find it. Would you please send it to me? Thanks!

Ah, you like singing? You mean the Chinese way? Your songs are very different than the Western songs. My son has given me 3 CD's with Chinese instrumental music about the seasons - beautiful!!

Oh before I forget, I finished the butterfly in my post "The finale." (Maybe you didn't see it, since you answered me in this post). You don't have to like the background:) That's quite all right.

Mingfei said...

Hello jeannette, the name of the butterfly is Polygonia c-aureum L.

I know little about music just like singing. I think the traditional Chinese music style is a kind of feeling that makes people quite and peaceful. There are many other folk music played by Ethnic instruments. I like that as well.

I have seen the final a few days ago. That's a great way to stress on the subject. Well done! In fact I read every blogs I subscribed but don't leave comment always if I don't know what to talk about.

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you Mingfei! I already jotted it down in my painting journal (I keep a journal for every painting how I came to paint it, what colors I used, and any anecdotal info.).

In Looking for the scientific name of the butterfly I went quite a way back on your blog, and I saw that you visited the Forbidden City (had forgotten that you live in Beijing) - your pics about the palaces are very, very good!

May I give you a suggestion, Mingfei? When you don't know what to say about the blog posts you have read, you may say

"very nice" or
"good job" or
"that is very interesting" or
"hope to read more about this subject", or
"I never thought about this subject in this way" or,
"this is a new subject to me."
Hope this helps you!
One phrase, or a one sentence answer is enough for Western people (and that is not impolite at all).

Mingfei said...

Oh thanks very much for your suggestion, it's very helpful to me. One big problem we Chinese facing when learning English and communicating with foreigners is we don't know your culture well so some misunderstanding may exist. I would try to do it in future.

I'm afraid you have recognized the palace wrongly. It's the Summer Resort in Chengde. Though it's also a imperial garden, it's just a place for emperor to stay for months when he visited there. I visited the Forbidden City four years ago when I first came to Beijing. Actually, local people seldom go there. It's just a place of interest that attracts tourists most.

jeannette stgermain said...

I know, it takes a long time before you know how things are meant in another culture:) And it's okay to make mistakes - I have made plenty of them, LOL Someone once said to me that if an American jokes with you, it means that they like you. And that it true.

Thanks for telling me about the summer palace - I already was amazed how you could get that palace of the Forbidden City in one pic!!
I lived once at the beach in the Hague, but we never went to the beach, because all the tourists were there:), so I know what you mean.