Artist’s Journey through a Butterfly Painting

Posted on November 3, 2016

A Fascination with Butterflies

Creating a Butterfly Panting & learning on the way

I’ve always been fascinated by butterflies and dragonflies. Incredible creatures which go through a journey of transformation throughout their lives. There is something about that journey which resonates with me and reflects my own progress through life. So, creating a Butterfly Painting was the obvious thing to do.

Painting Butterflies  reminds me of where I am on my journey and the meditative process of creating a painting takes me through thoughts and learning, giving me the time to process and embed new ways of being. 

The process of metamorphosis shows that we all have the power to change, to transform our lives into something beautiful and fulfilling.

Life reflecting nature’s process

The crawling caterpillar

Metamorphosis, transformation: From a crawling caterpillar, endlessly striving, searching, feeding. Working to survive, hiding from those that would consume it, endlessly moving to get through life.

Camouflaging itself to hide from the myriad of dangers, of those predating, hunting, parasites.

butterfly- caterpillar- photo- anita Nowinska

There comes a time when the caterpillar knows it has had enough, that it is time to change.

For so many years of my life, the material world meant that working hard, striving was the only way ahead. Believing that there was no choice but to do the jobs, the work which provided the money. For years I worked in sales and in the recruitment industry. High stress, pressure, all consuming. It gave me no joy, it didn’t fulfill me on any deeper level.

Inside me, always was the artist, the creative soul desperate to be expressed and set free, with the ridiculous belief that you couldn’t possibly make a living doing what you love..instilled by parents, teachers, peers.

I painted from time to time and in those moments got glimpses of what I love most, always having to put it aside as life’s demands took me back to the grind. From time to time someone would buy a painting or express interest and I craved to do more. I felt just like that crawling caterpillar on it’s endless journey.

I looked after those around me, always giving, helping, pouring myself out. Forgetting that I need nurturing too.

Withdrawing from the world- Cocoon

Eventually, The butterfly creates it’s cocoon, nestles into its blanket, goes into a state of suspended animation as it slowly changes and transforms. From the outside it looks as if it is lifeless, immobile, asleep, but within there is the greatest miracle going on. The transformation into something different, hidden from external eyes.

butterflies, cocoons, Anita Nowinska, photo

For me, there was that time… Having started the process when I lost my business during the dot com crash. Being left with nothing gave me the chance to start reinventing my life and I  decided to pursue my art, finally. When there is nothing, not even a home, I decided that the only way to find true meaning in my life was to do what I love most. That was the beginning of the journey.

Whilst pregnant with my son, alone, I started the process of cocooning. Starting to turn inwards and reflect on life, to work out what was needed to bring joy. Recognising that self doubt held me back, I started working on myself, looking at how to break through the limiting beliefs which held me back.

Conscious choices

I made a conscious choice to be the Mother to my son, choosing to remain single and reach a place where I was happy in myself, without the need for external acknowledgment. To be good enough, in my own mind. To not worry about pleasing others and look after and nurture myself and my own.

The artist to my soul and to create a life which worked for me and would show my son that he could find a life doing what he was most passionate about too.

Over the past ten years, I have felt very much in that cocoon. Not quite out there living to the full, thinking, learning, changing, going through the pain which change creates.

Lessons learnt in that quiet space

My greatest joy is that when I am painting, it is like a meditative process, getting totally absorbed my mind quietens and allows deeper processes to take over and be worked through. I think everyone has something they can use like this, music, meditation, writing, walking or running.  Such valuable time to process things.

I feel truly blessed to have this escape.

The Cocoon becomes the boundary- the safe space

The lessons came that some of those around me were the predators, the parasites, that their only interest was to take, while others in my life were true friends with a balance of give and take. As I continued with the butterfly painting things became clearer.

When I started creating sensible boundaries and  withdrawing the indiscriminate giving from those who just bled me dry, I was confronted by their anger, in a really confronting and nasty way.

I slowly learned that most often anger or criticism from others was a mark of their own sadness or inner pain. That not being able to control me, or feeling inadequate made them lash out. Just when I needed it most, I found a fabulous quote online:

When a toxic person cannot control you, they will try to control how others see you. The misinformation will feel unfair, but stay above it, trusting that other people will eventually see the truth, just like you did

These few simple words resonated so much with what was happening, lifted my heart and made me see clearly what was going on. 

Seeing my Truth

Starting to see the potential of what can be if I can learn to live without a care for the external opinion of others. That if I could shrug off caring about what the toxic people around me thought or said and be content in my own integrity. Life could transform.

Not be affected by their lashing out, to let it slide off my cocoon and not affect me. My being upset was what fed them and satisfied I stopped letting them hurt me. I just took on board that I felt sorry for them and let them get on with their stuff.. knowing it was their stuff not mine.Karma will sort out the rest.

Seeing that my choice to pursue my dreams and do what I love for some people was quite confronting and that’s why they lashed out. The true friends were supportive and proud of me. Whatever others thought was irrelevant, why shouldn’t I make a successful living doing what I love, as an artist?

With that knowledge and my Art, light started to pierce the cocoon. Who would think that a Butterfly painting could teach me so much.

Emerging into the world, with wings to Fly!

The butterfly finally starts to take on it’s colour. For a while, the cocoon still protects it, but the colours of it’s wings shine through, giving a glimpse of what is to come.

I’ve felt like that for a while. The knowledge hat there there is something amazing ahead, just out there. That all the hard work is about to pay off.

The Butterfly breaks through the cocoon, emerges slowly, it’s wings slowly unfolding and taking on brighter hues. It rests, drying, gathering it’s strength, consolidating it’s resources.

That’s where I am right now. Having emerged from the time of sleep, I feel ready.

Just gathering it all up, spreading my wings. Consolidating all that I’ve done, the sales, the lovely clients and commissions, the exhibitions, the creating of websites. Creating my Butterfly painting taught me so much.

The Butterfly flutters, wings spread.

It takes no backwards glance, just rises into the sunlight.

Its wings flutter, glide as it catches the breeze.

Glorious, beautiful, amazing in flight. Free in it’s glory

and I know, that it is coming

My Time to Fly!

black & white ricepaper butterfly painting by Anita Nowinska

Time to Fly” Butterfly Painting by Anita Nowinska is available as an original painting  here and as a limited edition art print here





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