Purchasing Botanical Art

Plant Art

Birds of Paradise- Watercolor by Mindy Lighthipe ©2011 Original painting available through Daily Paintworks.

With the age of digital reproduction, why should you buy original art? Print on demand companies have popped up all over the internet and  many with surprisingly high quality prints at affordable prices. Sometimes it is difficult to tell the reproduction from the original….. so again, I ask the question, ”Why buy original art?” For me, buying reproductions versus buying prints is similar to listening to a song on the radio versus going to a concert to see the musicians preform live.  I listen to music everyday and I go to see concerts as often as I can. Nothing beats live music. Most people buy art for decorative and home furnishing reasons. What do you want decorating your space to achieve? Do you want to lay claim to the space, to display your taste, to provoke discussion with clients and guests, and to make your venue as welcoming as possible? One piece of original artwork is worth more than a room filled with prints and replicas. It demonstrates a certain decisiveness of spirit as well as a willingness to support the artist and the arts. Owning an original piece of art stakes a claim for both the content of the piece and the style in which its drawn, painted, or sculpted. As much as you love that table from Pottery Barn, or pride yourself in the piano that’s survived three generations, a piece of original artwork will become the focal point of any room. If it drew you in enough to make the investment, it will draw your guests in equally. While choosing that table or carefully arranging that piano so that it falls just under the light does indeed reflect a facet of your personality, the right original artwork will have been a completely intentional, deep-running choice. When you’re ready to begin your search for that perfect piece, I invite you to consider browsing through my DailyPaintworks Gallery. I have a range of subjects, sizes and prices available. The personality and artistry demonstrated in each original piece may just be what you’re looking for. I am also available for commission work if you have something special in mind.  You can contact me here. –

Butterfly Art & Visit to the FMNH

Mosiac Butterfly on Heliconia ©2013 MLighthipe WatercolorI just got back from my trip to Costa Rica and we had a fabulous time. I never grow tired of visiting the country and am already planning the itinerary for next year. I got to see lots of beautiful butterflies this trip and here is a painting that I did from a previous trip. This is the sort of painting that I do at home after a trip using my field sketches and back up photographs.

As soon as I got home I had to jump right back into teaching at UFL with my Introduction to Scientific Illustration. We had a great class as we visited the Florida Museum of Natural History, The Butterfly Rainforest and the McGuire Center. We first met with Andy Warren who is the Collections Manager at the Center for Lepidoptera. The collection consists of 3 floors which are climate controlled, containing massive collections of butterflies and moths grouped by taxonomy. McGuire Center for Lepidoptera The collection is overwhelmingly rich with specimens from all over the world. Most of the specimens have been donated to the McGuire Center which opened its’ door to the public in 2006. There are laboratories focusing on molecular genetics, scanning electron microscopy, image analysis, conservation and captive propagation of endangered species, optical microscopy and specimen preparation; and classrooms and offices for students, curators, collection managers and other staff. Andy is also the creator of a very valuable website for Lepidoptera enthusiasts and natural science illustrators. His website is Butterflies of America and here you will find over 160,500 images and a list over 8,300 species of butterflies including specimens, host plants, caterpillars, habitats and more.

After our visit with Andy we met with Jacqueline Miller who is a curator and adjunct professor at the McGuire Center. She graciously showed the class a collection of rare and vintage lepidoptera engravings that were hand colored back in 1798. The color plates were  The natural history of the rarer lepidopterous insects of Georgiaexquisitely preserved and the artists’ colors and details were breathtaking. It was great to see these illustrations as it also showed the lifecycle of the butterflies as well as many of them on their host plant Here is a sample of what we got to see up close and personal from Abbot & Smith’s 1798 , The Natural History of the Lepidopterous Insects of Georgia.” It was a great day and I am glad that I could share a bit of it with you.

Do you paint butterflies? Do you have resources that you would like to share? Please leave a comment. I would love to hear from you.

If you would like to purchase my original painting please visit my gallery at Daily Paintworks

You can also find me on Facebook and Pinterest!

Blue Buckeye Butterfly

Buckeye Butterflies are not Blue?

Pinned Buckeye ButterflyA few years ago when I first moved to Florida I visited Edith Smith at Shady Oaks Butterfly Farm. She and her family raise butterflies for a living. I went on her butterfly tour and she showed me all of the different species she raises. Each species has its own walk-in outdoor room and this is where the adult butterflies fly free and mate. The room is furnished with the host plant for the female to lay her eggs on and as soon as the eggs are laid, Edith scoops them up. She places them in a sterilized quarantined container and feeds the newly hatched caterpillars until they turn into a chrysalis. The chrysalises are sold to live butterfly exhibits throughout the USA. She has been doing this for many years and her breeding techniques are down to a science.

One of the things Edith shared with me when I was there was her buckeye butterfly room. She began noticing that some of the buckeyes (which are usually brown) had an iridescent blue sheen over top of their brown wing scales. She separated the buckeyes with the most blue pigmentation from the brown ones and began to breed them. The results are amazing. She now has buckeyes that are blue, green, purple and some even with a hint of turquoise. She was kind enough to give me some of her special buckeyes I finally got to do this colored pencil painting. Thanks Edith for breeding these amazing butterflies!

Blue Buckeye Butterfly- Original Colored Pencil by MLighthipe ©2014

Blue Buckeye Butterfly- Original Colored Pencil 14″ x 10″ Mindy Lighthipe ©2014 $300.00

To see more of Edith’s amazing work with butterflies visit her website: Butterfly FunFacts

Blossoms ll Goes Virtual!

"Harbingers of Spring" ©2010 Mindy Lighthipe

This past year I had the wonderful opportunity to enter a juried art exhibit, "Blossoms ll" sponsored by the Susan K Black Foundation. This is the 2nd time that the exhibition has happened. This time there were over 1000 applicants from all over the world. The jury chose only 100 pieces. I am so pleased that one of my paintings was included. The show opened in Naples, Florida in February 2011 and is traveling around the country for the next year or so. I was lucky enough to attend the opening. One of the things I really loved about the show is the subject is Flower Art, not strictly Botanical Art. Flowers can be depicted in so many ways.  I am a botanical artist but I appreciate the different mediums and approaches that many artists take in depicting flowers. The range of work was well represented and there was a good selection of botanical paintings as well.

The SKBlack Foundation has just released a virtual gallery of the exhibition. It has detailed information about each painting as well as the artist. It is set up just like a gallery where you can click in and out of the rooms and see the paintings next to one another. There were many cash prizes awarded and you can see the award winners as well. The physical exhibition is traveling and you can see if it might be in your neighborhood. If you can't see it in person the next best thing is to see it online. I invite you to check it out. It is a real treat to see!


Nature’s Wisdom Oracle Cards

I have the wonderful opportunity to announce that my Nature's wisdom Oracle cards from Schiffer Publisher is finally arrived. About a year ago my book, Mother Monarch was released and they offered me the opportunity to write and illustrate a deck of oracle cards. I had never embarked on a project of this kind so I needed to do some research.

According to Wikipedia "Oracle card decks claim to provide insight and positive outlooks to people. They are conceptually similar to divinatory tarot cards, but they are often not divided into playing card tarot cards. Unlike the Tarot, oracle cards are not known to be used for card games. Oracle decks often differ in the number of cards. Common themes used in oracle card decks involve the power of positive thought and metaphysical beings such as angels, fairies, mermaids and unicorns. These cards are sometimes called "fortune telling packs". They often lack what is often seen as the "darker" images of traditional Tarot Cards.

I have always related to nature and find that there is so much to be learned from Mother Nature. As I began to think more and more about my deck of cards I started to make a list of bugs, beasts and botanicals that had special meaning to me. I read lots of books and researched my way through the internet to come up with the imagery, symbolism and folklore that I felt would help others gain insights into their daily challenges, future aspirations and past decisions. I came up with 48 cards that I believe will help to guide people along the path as nature intended us to walk. I will periodically post each image and you can read the information I have in the book.  My first card is  

The Artichoke


The artichoke symbolizes value. It is a perennial plant belonging to the thistle family.  The flower or the head of the plant is commonly referred to as the heart. In Greek mythology Zeus fell in love with a beautiful woman named Cynara. She missed her family so much that she would sneak back to earth. When Zeus discovered this, he banished her to earth and turned her into an artichoke. In today’s cuisine, the artichoke is considered a delicacy.  The exterior is tough and only a tiny portion of the plant is edible. It takes a lot of preparation and cooking in order to make it tender. Each leaf is peeled off and must be scraped off the flesh of the plant.

Special message:

The artichoke challenges you to find the value of your present situation.  Look deep inside your heart and see if there is something special hidden within the harshness of the exterior. The work involved in the discovery may uncover something of great value to you.

If you are interested in your own deck of Nature's Wisdom Oracle cards you can purchase them from me here on this website:

 $24.99 + $4.95 shipping and handling fee

I hope that you enjoy them!

Painting Butterflies in Gainesville Florida

I have just confirmed that I will be teaching a 3 day workshop at the McGuire Center at the Florida Museum of Natural History October 19-21, 2010. For those of you that love butterflies this is an AWESOME opportunity to draw, photograph and paint from the 9 MILLION specimens that make up the collection at the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity. For more information about the butterfly painting workshop go to the Art Workshops page.