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A surreal study of the gem-like, alien form of a butterfly pupa; there's something fascinating about pupa that fail to progress to the butterfly stage, remaining a preserved artefact, when they're associated so strongly with transition. They're preserved half way through a stopped cycle, never to discharge their butterfly, but perfectly intact because of it.


I don't know which species of butterfly this belongs to - perhaps it's a Pipevine Swallowtail? - but these totally surreal, alien forms amazed me and I placed this one on a mirror to study it better - hence the upside down sky. There's so much detail to explore in these tiny forms, they really are mysterious; it took quite a while to paint this larger than life study with all the sigments and filaments. Many thanks to the wonderful Lancaster Butterfly House who answered my questions and gave me several pupa to take home and study.

Acrylic on Board

21.5 x 21.5cm (painting size)

This painting is available from my studio - please email me at to arrange a visit (biscuits included!) - or online from my Etsy shop

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