Today’s Theme Is “Orange”

Orange Caterpillar #2Orange Caterpillar #2

Sorting through images today, I noticed that I have several with a similar color theme, orange. I thought I would do these all together in a photo-dump since I’m so far behind in posting. These first two are a couple of my favorites, but I have no idea what species of caterpillar this is. Help with IDs are welcomed as always.

Orange Caterpillar #1Orange Caterpillar #1

Orange Capped MushroomOrange Capped Mushroom

Small Orange ButterflySmall Orange Butterfly

Orange BugOrange Bug

Fossilized StoneFossilized Stone

Orange EyeOrange Eye

Orange WaspOrange Wasp

Pearl Crescent Butterfly

Pearl Crescent - Phyciodes tharos #2

I’m backtracking a bit to a couple of photos I captured of a Pearl Crescent butterfly, taken on July 17th.

Pearl Crescent - Phyciodes tharos #1

I’m a little disappointed in myself for not spending more time sketching over the summer. For the last few months, though, I’ve barely sat down at my computer, let alone taken the time to sit and draw. This July 17th sketch is one of the few sketches I did all summer. My routine is anything but since the move. Hopefully soon, I can get back into a “work” schedule that allows me the time to spend creating.Pearl Crescent - Phyciodes tharos Sketch

Brown Butterfly

Brown ButterflyI’m at a loss for words lately which has prevented me from posting more often. In order to break out of this funk/self-doubt, I’ll try simply posting photos for a while without the stress of writing. I have a large amount of unpublished photos from this summer (and earlier). As always, I’ve been snapping photos obsessively of anything that catches my eye. Perhaps, it’s the sheer amount of photos I’ve taken that’s given me writer’s block. Hopefully, taking the pressure off myself to “write” and correctly ID everything I’ve photographed will actually help me get the photos out.

Aspiration

Aspiration

Aspiration
Mixed Media – Watercolor, colored pencils, and ballpoint ink pen
9″x12″
2014

As·pi·ra·tionnoun /ˌaspəˈrāSHən/: 1. a hope or ambition of achieving something. [Google definitions]

I have tried to write out a blog post for this art piece ever since I finished it on April 18th. Lord have mercy; there have been a lot of distractions this past month! These distractions led to a much more serious bout of depression than I would like to admit and anxiety that has me questioning my sanity. It’s during times like these that hopelessness sets in, and I struggle to see the good in life due to feelings of despair and negative thinking.

Let me reiterate here that telling a depressed person to “just think happy thoughts” is probably the worst advice ever that someone could give. Not only does it invalidate what the person is feeling, statements like these can cause that negativity to spiral out of control when the person finds that this seemingly simple solution can’t be achieved due to, you guessed it, more negative thoughts. It’s a vicious cycle. A much more productive response, in my opinion, is to remind the depressed person that all of life’s problems are temporary and change is inevitable as nothing ever stays the same.

When my therapist spoke with me about doing a piece of artwork for a mental health publication, I knew I wanted to participate; and the above image is the result. The topic or art prompt he gave me was “Inspiring Hope” or “What gives a person inspiration of hope?” Coincidentally, back in January, I had posed a similar question to this on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.

January 15, 2014, on Facebook and Google+:

“I’m going to throw this prompt out all across the board to all of my social media networks: What physical representation means “HOPE” to you? Tell me or draw #hope.

I was considering the thought of creating a drawing series based on responses I receive. In doing a quick Google search I’ve run across the usual symbols: a dove, an anchor, a swallow; but I think it would be more interesting to hear and see individual responses given the personal nature of what hope might represent to others. For me, the first thing I thought of was butterflies (because they are so fragile yet travel such great distances) or maybe, the infinity symbol (because to me, infinity also means all things are possible through time and space – this one’s a little harder for me to explain).

Sorry to be so philosophical, but this thought crossed my mind. My curiosity got the better of me, so I thought I would ask.”

And on Twitter:

 

Failing to get any responses, I promptly forgot about it and moved onto other things. Yes, my failure to interact with people is as prominent online as it is in real life; and yes, it was also a “look a bunny” kind of thing. I had, however, intended at that time to sort out this concept in my mind to better understand how others experience hope since it is such a hard concept for me to grasp. My struggles with depression and anxiety often leave me with a loss of hope, as I’m sure these types of mental health struggles do for many.

I can’t really make up my mind as to whether hope is an emotion or a belief or something else entirely. “Hopeful” is often listed as an emotion, but I’m confused by “hope.” I could just be over-thinking it, as I often do; but it is my experience that I analyze something to death in order to gain an understanding of it. However, when I think about hope, expectation and disappointment also factor into the mix. One can’t exactly hope for something without a certain amount of expectation that this hope will somehow manifest. If that hope does not, then disappointment is a likely result.

Hopenoun /ˈhōp/: 1. a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. 2. a feeling of trust. verb: 1. want something to happen or be the case. [Google definitions]

On the day my therapist gave me this prompt, I had the topic of “Inspiring Hope” stuck in my head while I hiked at Burgess Falls after our appointment. Thinking about “what gives me the inspiration of hope,” I spotted a couple of beautiful Eastern Tiger Swallowtails. At that moment, I knew that a butterfly had to be a part of this piece because for me, butterflies are the perfect symbol for “Hope.” I would have preferred a Monarch butterfly to work from, but those are becoming a rare pleasure to see. Instead, I worked from one of my favorite photos I took of an inquisitive swallowtail that I photographed last August.

While working on this art piece, I thought more about the topic and came to the conclusion that I think hope is finding your passion and setting it free. My passions are drawing, painting, photography – creating art – and nature. These are the things that give me the most hope because these are things that I love to do and want to share with the world to inspire others.

What gives you the inspiration of hope?

A Model Butterfly

A Model Butterfly

A Model Butterfly, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

This is by far my favorite photo from my outing today at Burgess Falls. Is this an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)? I’m pretty sure it is; but there are so many butterflies and moths, many quite similar to one another. There were several of these out there today. This one was the most patient and fearless, allowing me a few photos. I’ve missed seeing life and color on my hikes these past couple of months. It’s nice to see everyone coming out of hibernation.

While hiking and climbing up and down that steep hillside of rocks, my thoughts turned to “hope.” What is it? What does hope really mean? I was happily encouraged when I saw the butterflies because to me, butterflies are the perfect symbol of hope. The Monarch butterfly, in particular, somehow manages to migrate “from Mexico to northern USA and southern Canada, a distance of about 4000 to 4800 km (2500–3000 miles).” That’s quite an accomplishment for a creature so delicate and fragile. Also, the butterflies’ metamorphosis from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis and finally, to butterfly bestows hope to the curious observer that change is possible in so many ways. At least, it does for me.

More photos to come this week. I took quite a few today, but I think I’ll only post a few at a time, per day this week to try to get myself back in the habit of posting to my blog more frequently.