Black Eyed Susan

Black Eyed Susan.  Tempera on panel, 6″ x 8″.

Black Eyed Susan is a very small painting in egg tempera on a wood panel. Egg tempera is an ancient technique using the yolk of an egg as a binder for pigment. Popular during the early Renaissance, it is a simple and enduring medium. A Monarch butterfly, light shining through its orange wings, approaches a Black Eyed Susan. A fluttering movement is suggested by the curves of the long green leaves behind it. I saw this happen in my own backyard.

We are witnessing a moment in nature, but we are not a part of it. We are separated from the scene by dark vertical foreground shapes. The interaction of the butterfly and the flower takes place in a compact thicket of overlapping blades. The dark blue background is dense, almost impenetrable. The illuminated, colorful scene is surrounded by a dim, unending forest of tall fronds.