I was fortunate enough to visit the beautiful city of Chicago a few weeks ago, and flitting among the buildings and feeding on the numerous planters were monarch butterflies. It was my first trip to the States and I was enchanted to see these iconic beauties as I walked the streets.

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They are robust yet graceful, and how they fly is so far from the rather ungainly flapping adopted by some species. The colouration is bright and striking and they glide with a particular angle to their wings, and in the same way a buzzard has a diagnostic shallow V-shape as it soars, these insects do the same (albeit a more acute angle than a buzzard).

I couldn’t find a reference photo with that required distinctive angle, but as I had a few photos of my own, I had enough information to get on and paint.

Here is the result:

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Handpainted in gouache on 30 x 30cm on Somerset paper.

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