Category Archives: Damien Hurst Geometric Designs

Inspired by Damien Hurst’s real butterfly and acrylic artworks, I am arranging butterflies in geometric patterns using the shape, size, and patterns of one of nature’s finest creations… in paint instead of the real thing.



2011 "Papillion," 12"x18" gold leaf, acrylic, oil paint on wood panel

The poor flower kept saying to the airborne butterfly: 

   “Don’t fly away!
    Our destinies are different: I stay put,
    you travel!

Yet we love one another, we live without human beings,
   remote from them;
   and we resemble one another – some say that both of us
   are flowers.

“But alas! the breeze carries you off, while the earth ties me down
   – what a cruel fate!
   I would like my breath to perfume your flight
   in the sky!

But no, you travel too far! Visiting countless flowers,
   you fly away,
   while I remain alone watching my shadow circle
   at my feet.

“You go, then you come back, then you fly off again
   to shine elsewhere.
   So every morning you find me
   bathed in tears!

Ah please, so that our love may glide along faithfully
   (oh my king!),
   take root like me – or else give me wings
   like you!”

“La pauvre fleur disait au papillon céleste.” Victor Hugo (1802-1885) (Courtesy of my friend Jeremy, who named the painting)

This painting has been a struggle for six months. I have agonized over minute brush painting of each individual butterfly, keeping the gold leaf fresh and clean, and freezing over what I should do next.  It got too precious. While idolizing Damien Hurst’s butterfly series I needed to make the concept my own.  This is the last of my Damien Hurst-like geometric series for now.

Papillion center detail

"Papillion" center detail

"Papillion" swallowtail detail

"Papillion" Swallowtail detail


Re-make, Re-create and Re-fresh

Butterfly Geometry: Red-Gold, 8"x11", oil, acrylic, gold leaf. $250.00

Previously, I saw that this painting was not brought to its full potential.  My work is characteristically a conversation between order and chaos; therefore, by leaving this painting as before (see previous posting Butterfly Geometry: Red Gold) was like pulling a punch.  By adding the splashes and new colors the relationship between the inside circle and the outside black space is energized and new, and frankly it just looks better.  Yes, I’m aware that my photography skills are lacking, all the gold and copper splashes just ruin a nice clean photograph and I’m too impatient to share this painting with ya’ll to tinker too much longer.

Which version do you like better? Clean, bold lines or the splash overlay? Let me know!

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

I am thrilled with how this painting came out.  I started with a white gesso-ed wood panel base, glued thin gold leaf in a central circle, and started from the exact center of the circle stenciling in butterfly shapes in different sizes.  With Damien Hirst’s butterfly stained glass artworks and various cathedral rose windows in mind, I let the gold leaf shine through the butterflies’ patterns to add a sparkling dimension to this painting.

NOTE: This painting looks AMAZING in person.  You can bet that I’ll be toting it to all of my artist appearances just for people to ooh and aah at.  Guess that means I have to make some more gold leaf paintings…

August 2010: Butterfly Geometry (Red and Gold).

16"x12", acrylic, gold leaf and oil on wood panel

Butterfly Geometry #2 (Little Yellows)

For this experiment I used another geometrically facinating butterfly, the Little Yellow butterfly.  I am especially pleased with the contrast of the pale background to the yellow and dark parts of each of the butterflies.  Minimal color = Maximum interest!

August 2010: Butterfly Geometry #2 (Little Yellows).

Butterfly Geometry (Little Yellows) 5"x5", oil on wood.

Butterfly Geometry #1 (White Admiral & Cabbage White)

This is my first attempt at playing with the geometry of butterfly wings. I was immediately drawn to the White Admiral for its distinctive V-shaped stripe of white against a stark blue-black background.  The splashes of blue and white at the tips added interest to the composition.  I also used the Cabbage White to increase interest in the space.

Completed August 2010: Butterfly Geometry #1 (White Admiral & Cabbage White)

Butterfly Geometry (White Admiral) 5"x5", oil on wood panel.

Artist Statement update – where the heck is she going with all this?

Damien Hirst, The Explosion - Exalted (2006, Gagosian Gallery)

While in college, and still on this butterfly kick, I ran into Damien Hirst’s butterfly stained glass window series (example above) and absolutely fell in love with how the painstaking geometry and precision translates into gorgeous, ethereal and even religious imagery.  While we can go back and forth all day about the morality of Hirst’s mass extermination of butterflies for the work, there is no question of the beauty of the work.

I am returning to this imagery and letting my imagination run wild.  My current series has to do with nature and geometry and how the natural world’s beautifully irregular geometry (visible in butterfly wings, beetles, leaves, flowers, water, anywhere in nature and even natural science) relates to man-made geometric patterns.  I’m realizing that my interest in this topic is not only because of the crazy infatuation with butterflies that I’ve had for the past three years, but also because of the recent science and math classes that I am taking for school.  I am glad for this new branch of study and am SUPER excited to see what kind of inspiration  science and math classes will be having on this strange hybrid of an artist-doctor.  I have NO idea what’s going to come out of all this, but isn’t that the fun of being an artist? 🙂