Morpho rhetenor congeal
Morpho rhetenor congeal is a personal victory for me. It not only represents, but it embodies a successful culmination of my attempts at painting over the past five years. It is by no means perfect, but I feel satisfied with it in a way that I haven't with any of my paintings up until now. It is a breakthrough. Although I still have a great deal of learning to do, I hope that I may have reached the half-way point in my journey to being able to achieve beautiful illusion in oil paint.
Morpho rhetenor congeal depicts a morpho butterfly, which has long been my personal emblem and totem. In 2003, I ventured to the Amazon to seek out morpho butterflies, and while on a filming expedition for my documentary Nanay, I lucked out and found a large, beautiful blue morpho fluttering about the Allpahuayo-Mishana nature reserve in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest. I chased it wildly through the jungle, abandoning my fear of treading on snakes -- launching myself through the undergrowth in pursuit of that beautiful iridescence which makes the morpho so famous.
The name Morpho is an epithet of Aphrodite - the Goddess of Beauty, so it fits in well with my proprietary art movement Pulchrism.
The first time I ever saw a morpho butterfly was in 1996 at La Specola - Florence's antique and atmospheric natural history museum -- and I've been a devotee of the profound and extraordinary Beauty of morpho butterflies ever since.
I added the specification congeal to the taxonomy of the particular morpho pictured, as its construction embodies the arcane precept of coagula - the coming together order of out of chaos.
Following is a video of me painting Morpho rhetenor congeal:
Following are images of the painting process and detail shots: