Papillon, mon Papillon

Papillon, my Butterfly

This painting sat unnamed on my easel for months. I couldn’t figure out what she was feeling. Then one day I came across a blog with a listing of the 10 most beautiful French words. Papillon was second. It means butterfly. I knew that’s what she was doing; emerging, unfolding, becoming; like a butterfly.

Mon Papillon, original oil painting by Marie Wise

Spring Azure, 2007
Spring Azure, 2007

The Greeks liken the butterfly’s constant flitting from flower to flower to the restlessness of the mind: constantly changing from subject to subject.

The butterfly’s metamorphosis from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly also symbolizes significant change–like the change my paintings seem to go through constantly. A few subjects consistently emerge though; florals, people….. and butterflies. Here’s a few:

Western White, 2007
Western White, 2007

When my daughter was 16 I gave her a hand-made paper box filled with a tissue paper butterfly. A sense of wonder came over her face as she lifted off the cover and unfolded the delicate tissue. It was magical. For me, it symbolized all the changes she’d gone through, from infant, to girl, to emerging young woman. I felt reborn and old at the same time. For her, although she didn’t realize it at the time, it was symbolic all the changes she had yet to go through.

Later she left to hang out with friends. I looked at the moon and sent her kiss-wishes.

Sara Orange Tip, 2007
Sara Orange Tip, 2007

Years later I’m still metamorphosizing, and so is she. It seems a constant in life. Restless seeking and constant yearning for something yet to come.