Blue Mountain Butterfly

Fine Art Watercolour Paper
Giclee 'OPEN EDITION' Prints
Aprox. Size: 265mm x 265mm
Price: £33.00

Original Painting Medium: Oil on canvas
Scientific Name: Papillio ulysses
Region: Indonesia, Australia

The Blue Mountain Butterfly is a large and stunningly beautiful butterfly living in the tropical rain forests of Indonesia and Australia.

The Blue Mountain Butterfly caterpillar is green in colour with a white underside and rows of large white spots along its back. It also has a white and impressive spike on its rear. The pupae is crescent shaped and a pale green in colour.

The Blue Mountain Butterfly is also known as the Mountain Blue, the Blue Emperor and Blue Mountain Swallowtail. With a wingspan of about 5.5 inches (14 cm) it is a large and stunningly beautiful, bright blue and black swallowtail butterfly . Both the male and female have a long 'swallowtail' but the females, though very pretty, are more subdued in colour. Males will often be attracted to blue objects - mistaking them for females.

As I child I can remember being mesmerised as I watched butterflies feeding on a buddleia in our garden. They looked so fragile and beautiful as they fluttered from one flower to another searching for nectar and probing their probosces (a thin tubular tongue), delicately and precisely into each tiny flower head.

I have since learned that they are in fact quite tough little critters. Some species flying 1,000s of miles, across mountains and oceans - treacherous terrain, in order to reach breeding and feeding grounds. The seed for my fascination with butterflies had been sown.

It never ceases to amaze me that a plump hairy caterpillar tucked inside a hard chrysalis, will emerge months later transformed into a large, colourful, exquisitely patterned butterfly or moth. It is an incredible process.
Whilst preparing for my butterfly painting I read a number of books on butterflies and their habitats and was amazed at the number of butterfly species in the world. I was also intrigued by the range of shapes, sizes, variety of markings and rainbow of colours that each species of butterfly uses; either for display, warning, camouflage or disguise.

In order to portray my butterfly artwork accurately I visited Worldwide Butterflies in Sherborne, Dorset. With the help of the proprietor, Mr. Robert Goodden, I learned a great deal, including how to hand-rear certain species. During my studies I also learned that throughout the world, due to habitat destruction and changing farming methods, butterflies and moths are becoming scarce. During the summer months I am involved in 'moth counts' and 'butterfly surveys'. The surveys help to ascertain the numbers of certain species and record rarities that may occur.

I thoroughly enjoyed my adventure into the butterfly world and painting such colourful, delicate creatures was a joy. At some point in the not too distant future I hope to portray moths in a similar style to complement my 'Tropical Butterflies of the World' painting.

Various designs of Butterfly Greetings Cards and Fine Art Prints are available from my Nature in Art online Gallery Shop or from Larmer Tree Studio, Tollard Royal.