(2 minute read)
Peacock and Eagles
21 July 2020
A few years ago I was visiting a friend in Northwest America and couldn’t sleep, so went out on an early morning walk. I turned a corner and stumbled across a huge bald eagle sitting on a log by the shore. I watched it take off and soar away over the water – with a wingspan of two metres, it was a breath taking sight. I relayed the experience to my friend, who then told me this beautiful story.
Her mother had recently passed away, so she gave her mother’s old truck to an elderly Native American, who lived close by. He was so grateful that he carved her a five foot, bald eagle totem pole as a gift. The day the man delivered the totem pole he was followed in the sky by five bald eagles and they proceeded to circle above. When the man left so did the eagles, a sight she had never seen before and has never seen since.
“Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not true”
The other day in my studio, I’d been staring at a large finished portrait. I was looking at all the shapes and colours, remembering what I had been thinking about while I’d been painting it. I saw the eye as a flower opening and imagined feathers in their hair. I then decided to close my eyes for a while and within a few minutes, I heard a loud fluttering. I opened my eyes and saw this huge Peacock butterfly fly down and circle around me, before settling on the chair opposite, opening and closing its wings for about 30 seconds. I then opened the sky light and it flew away.
It’s not even an easy journey to get to me in my studio, my windows had been closed all day and I’m tucked away in the far corner of the second floor. I’ve never seen a butterfly in my studio before or been so close to one for so long. But what I had forgotten is that for days while I had been painting the eyes and cheeks, I had seen them as a butterfly. Amazing! The previous week I had even sent my client a short list of words that had been influencing the painting and ‘butterfly’ was on it. It was a surreal experience.
“Never stop looking for what’s not there”
The next day, I sat in front of the portrait again and tried to define the butterfly that I had sensed in my painting. I found this image embedded, although, I have added the antennae for good effect! There is no doubt, the shapes and colours make a butterfly. I couldn’t have created it more perfectly if I’d tried.