The Butterfly Ball – Genevieve Leavold

Butterfly ball

Beauty comes in many different forms.  From rolling landscapes to physical beauty, written word to natural phenomenons.  Leavold captures the beauty of movement in her oil on canvas piece of “The Butterfly ball”.

Central right you can see the vague image of a butterfly, the wings open to show the intricacies of its wings.  This is then complimented by swirls of paint to give the feeling of movement to the piece.  Almost dance like it is rendition, the colours used bring visions of how the butterfly dances from flower to flower collecting nectar.

There is a simple elegance to this painting which brings to mind poetry in motion.  William Roscoe famously wrote a poem “The Butterfly ball” for his ten children, which compliments this painting.  It brings to life the colours of nature, giving the garden wildlife a humanised element, which assists in showing the dance of the butterfly in this painting.

“Come take up your hats, and away let us haste
To the Butterfly’s Ball, and the Grasshopper’s Feast:
The trumpeter Gad-fly has summon’d the crew,
And the revels are now only waiting for you.

On the smooth-shaven grass by the side of a wood,
Beneath a broad oak which for ages had stood,
See the children of earth, and the tenants of air,
To an evening’s amusement together repair.

And there came the Beetle, so blind and so black,
Who carried the Emmet, his friend, on his back;
And there came the Gnat, and the Dragon-fly too,
And all their relations green, orange, and blue.

And there came the Moth, with her plumage of down,
And the Hornet, with jacket of yellow and brown,
Who with him the Wasp, his companion, did bring,
But they promis’d, that ev’ning, to lay by their sting.

Then the sly little Dormouse peep’d out of his hole,
And led to the feast, his blind cousin, the Mole;
And the Snail, with her horns peeping out of her shell,
Came, fatigu’d with the distance, the length of an ell.

A mushroom the table, and on it was spread
A water-dock leaf, which their table-cloth made.
The viands were various, to each of their taste,
And the Bee brought the honey to sweeten the feast.

With steps most majestic the Snail did advance,
And he promis’d the gazers a minuet to dance;
But they all laugh’d so loud that he drew in his head,
And went in his own little chamber to bed.

Then, as ev’ning gave way to the shadows of night,
Their watchman, the Glow-worm, came out with his light:
So home let us hasten, while yet we can see;
For no watchman is waiting for you or for me.”

Leavold says herself that her paintings seek to bring light and colour to the viewer, highlighting the beauty of nature.  Her painting technique is fluid adding to the feeling of dance, while invoking a passion for nature and its small but intrinsic impact on our world.
Personally I found a deeper meaning in this painting, but that is because I am a natural overthinker.  The painting, to me, shows the potential effects of the butterfly effect.  I am hoping that most of you know the theory behind this concept, but if not here is the abridged version… This is a scientific terminology which describes a small cause having a large impact.  Initially the term was used in weather predictions, it is now a commonplace term for a minor change having a large impact further down the line.
The butterfly in this painting has caused the ribbons of colour from one small movement, and kaleidoscope of swirling energy around it.
You can see more of this extraordinary work here.
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