Young Maria Merian called butterflies her Summer Birds. During the Middle Ages, some people thought that insects were born from the mud and thus evil creatures who could change shapes (metamorphosis). Maria loved the beautiful insects and studied them in secret so that people would not think she was a witch. She grew to be an artist and a scientist.
This Giant Swallowtail is so common in the South that it seems to be a pest in some areas. Here, in the Mid-Atlantic, we see a few every summer. This one was in my front yard feasting on Zinnia nectar. It was a first time sighting for this species at home. Started this page with watercolors, didn't like the shape of the wings, do-over with some acrylic paint, and topped it off with the Sakura Glaze pens just for fun. I think I tried out all of the colors on the leaves (which, by the way, are only there to hide the old wings).