A symbol of change, rebirth and metamorphosis, butterflies hold great significance to many. As you typically spot them during spring time, they also serve as a beautiful reminder that brighter and warmer days are ahead.
Today, we’re pleased to be launching Butterfly – a new artwork from Elizabeth Waggett that is available exclusively at Enter Gallery. This piece is from Waggett’s Halo series, and is the first of three prints coming to the gallery in 2023.
Shop Elizabeth Waggett.
In today’s blog, we’re chatting to Waggett to learn more about the series, and the symbolism of the piece.
The Halo Series
Fans of Waggett’s art will know that over the years she has released a number of hugely-popular artworks of bees. Not only are bees a symbol of her hometown of Manchester, but their hard-working nature is something the artist has always connected with.
In her new Halo Series, we see Waggett dive deeper into her fascination with the beauty and entomology of small things. This first release sees her capturing the beauty of a butterfly.
Rather than depicting a certain species of butterfly, Waggett instead studied many and selected her favourite characteristics from each, much like she does with her portraits of other animals. Speaking of the significance of the piece, Waggett reveals:
“For me personally, this piece is a reminder that there is beauty, positivity and gratitude to be found in the small things, even during the hardest of times. After going through something that was very hard and ugly 18 months ago, I’m finally starting to see the light and lessons in that experience. Everyone goes through hardship but every lesson (hopefully) makes us better, stronger, more empathetic, more grateful. It’s a good thing to be able to look on the positive side of trauma to see how it has changed you for the better.”
The Halo series sees Waggett depict her insects against a circle of gold – a symbol that also adds much meaning to the artwork…
“The halo is an important part of the piece. Gold not only represents how special these insects are, but it represents putting them on the pedestal that they deserve. We’re so terrible at looking after the planet’s wildlife – I added the halo to celebrate them, and as a circle of protection.”
“It also represents the perfect cyclical nature of the environment, and how, no matter what humans do, it always comes full circle.”
All that glitters
From the enormously-popular Curse of Being Magnificent to Fragility of Power, gold is a regular feature in Waggett’s art. Besides looking beautiful, we wondered whether there was any other reason for the inclusion of gold…
“I love pairing pencil and charcoal with gold. There’s a lovely juxtaposition between the two materials – one is so matte and so flat, and one moves and has a life of its own. Charcoal and pencil are controlled and precise, and gold – while applied precisely – is not for me to control. How it looks will depend on the light on any given day, or on where it is hung. The gold creates movement and life in the piece.”
Rising to the challenge
In 2022, Waggett released Rich Man’s Shoes with Enter Gallery – a technically-challenging piece due to the symmetry required to create two identical pairs of brogues. This new release was also sparked by the artist’s desire to take on a challenge. Waggett reveals:
“Not only do butterflies have an undeniable beauty, but they have so much symmetry and so many different textures. When you look at them under a microscope, they are almost furry and powdery. And then you have to repeat left and right wing. This piece was born from my desire to draw something that would be a challenge because it needed to be perfect.”
“This piece took more than a week of intense drawing, that involved building lots of layers and then adding the texture. It’s much easier to create something shiny, but creating texture takes time and lots of intricate work.”
“I want my works to create a sense of peace, because that’s what I feel while I’m creating them. When you’re intensely-focused on your work, your mind doesn’t wander. You’re fully present. It’s like meditation. When I don’t do it I miss it, because it is a feeling of utter calmness that is really beautiful.”
Build your collection
Butterfly is the first release of Waggett’s Halo series. This new collection has been designed to sit alongside her previous artworks of bees and a new series that is coming in 2024. For more information, contact the gallery on 01273 724829.
Butterfly is available now as a lithograph print with gold foil. Both are available exclusively at Enter Gallery.