La Danse du Papillon (The Dance of the Butterfly)

mixed media painting on panel
acrylic, oil, lace paper, rice paper & decorative paper
©Copyright Nancy Calcutt.
All Rights Reserved.

“La Danse du Papillon (The Dance of the Butterfly)", a 19 7/8” x 15 7/8” x ¾” figurative painting on cradled board, depicts a ballerina in white tutu captured in the middle of her dance. It is a mixed media painting done with acrylic & oil paint, charcoal, lace & decorative paper. The painting comes wired and ready to hang, no frame needed, as it is 3/4 inches deep and painted black on the sides.

What inspired me to paint this ballerina was the dynamic pose and the white tutu outfit. The wispy and sheer fabric on the arms of the outfit reminds me of a butterfly. The large white tutu/petticoat adds to the illusion of the flight of a butterfly. The ballerina looks like she is ready to take flight. I love the theme of flying; it seems to me like the freest way to move. Haven’t many of us had dreams of flight? Maybe we really are going somewhere when we fly in our dreams and then wake when we come back from the journey.

This painting began on a panel that I had collaged with decorative, musically themed paper that had a lot of butterflies in the design. The collaged panel sat around my studio for a few weeks. One day, as I was looking at my sketchbook and photo archives for inspiration, I came across the ballerina in the white tutu. She seemed like the perfect subject for the butterfly theme.

The lace and rice paper collaged onto the painting create an actual texture that is difficult to fully appreciate from a photo of the painting. The piece has to be seen (and touched) to be appreciated. The painting is finished with a couple of layers of wax varnish, which protects it from harm. The painting can also be buffed or cleaned with a soft white cloth.