Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Illustration Friday - Glamour - Peacock butterfly

The Illustration Fiday topic is Glamour this week so I wanted to do something with the original meaning of glamour - a type of magic spell to make someone or something look different from their true appearance. The sort of spell that is used to often in myths.

The kind of tales where the hero's or heroine's brothers or sisters meet a haggard old woman and are asked to carry her across a stream on their backs or harvest her apples , tend her pigs or grind her corn.

The sisters and brothers are always rude and unhelpful , sometimes even cruel and they always get their just desserts when they are turned to stone or covered in boils.

The old woman is of course a beautiful Otherworldy creature; a faery or Goddess who has enchanted herself with a glamour and appears beautiful or ancient according to whim.

The pure of heart heros and heroines, of course, are helpful and kind and are only too happy to break their quest to help out and they are rewarded beyond their wildest dreams.

Other examples of glamour enchantments are found in Snow White, when the wicked Queen disguises herself in order to present Snow White with the poisoned apple.

This made me think about mimicry, and the many animals and insects that seem to be something more poisonous or agressive or bigger than they really are.

Ants and beetles and flies take the yellow and black stripes of wasps and hornets to deter predators.

Other flies have fake and often lethal looking 'stings' that deter even humans from approaching , never mind birds and animals.

Many butterflies have eye spots on their wings which look like owls eyes and when the wings are flapped, the eyes seem to blink and make small predators very wary.

Peacock butterflies Inachis io are found in Britain and the rest of Europe. They have two sets of prominent eye spots visible when the wings are held open. The underside of the wing ilooks like a shriveled, dead leaf so when the wings are closed the buttefly is well camouflaged.

The lower set look very like the eyes of a cat. This butterfly also makes a kind of hissy sound by rubbing its wings together when it 'blinks' them when threatened which probably adds to the impression of 'hunting cat'.

I think this butterfly also qualifies as glamourous in the more modern sense as well- since it has arguably the most impressive wings of any British Butterfly.
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Toni said...

Wow this butterfly can be very hypnotic. the spots on the back wings stare righ back at you. wonderful illustration

Lee said...

very pretty, I love the delicate wings.

The Unknown said...

Great stuff. I love it.

Twisselman said...

Great text leading to the butterfly, which is really beautiful. Very nice illustration.

ValGalArt said...

really beautiful!

Catnapping said...

it's stunning. and your entry was very interesting. as usual, i learned something...very sneaky of you.



isay said...

i didn't know about those eyes until now-thanks. lovely butterfly.

Queen Tut said...

Very captivating!

carla said...

What a gorgeous creature! I would take the glamour of nature over man-made glitz any day...and this butterfly is certainly very glamorous! I enjoyed reading your description too...lots of good stuff here:>

Amy Zaleski said...

I keep looking at this over and over....it looks like a real butterfly. Superb work!

Krisco said...


Monkey Freak said...

That's so cute.
I like it.