There are a number of great butterfly tessellations out there. I really like Escher's No. 12 and No. 38 and No. 70 and especially his Circle Limit with Butterflies (1950). Alain Nicolas has an excellent example of a type 2S butterfly motif. I am sure there are many other examples out there as well. The following example is of another butterfly tessellation I created and left in my sketchbook for many years because I was not happy with the design. The Figure 1 below depicts the butterfly motif with two styles that were rejected. As you can see the difference is slight between the tessellation motifs but the sketch allows no overlap and the black and white does not overlap. The problem with this design is that the wings are too narrow in my view. The final design allows overlap and the wings are wider. I chose to include this second design recently within a Mobius strip since it allows the figure to evolve into a colorful butterfly that flies off the page. This concept is similar to several other Mobius strip designs (three other examples are shown on the tessellation-art-gallery pages). Figure 2 depicts the final design of the Butterfly tessellation.
A few people have asked me to provide additional examples of how I develop a print and my thought process. This blog will provide some of the details on the development of "Twilight at Castellano". This image came from one of my sketchbooks and is originally dated January 31, 2013. It has taken me four years to convert in into a print. Its not that I didn't like the image but I have so many ideas and can only execute a portion of them. This idea came from a visit to Italy many years ago and the location is completely from my imagination. I had been thinking about birds flying in formation (ie geese) and the spaces between them. I came upon the idea of doing a tessellation with birds and bats to contrast light and dark. The Figure 1 image was taken from my sketchbook and Figure 2 is a refinement of the image.
I transferred the image to tracing paper and had a lithographic stone prepared by my master printer at Muskat Studios. I choose to make the image a black to white scratch drawing from a black tusche background, It required the use of razor blades and knives to remove the tusche and build the light from the dark background. I started with a completely black background and scraped away at the stone to reveal the lighter portions of the image. This was not my first reverse image. I created "Above and Below"(See the Tessellation Art Gallery) through a similar method. Figure 3 depicts the transfer tracing I used to transfer the iron oxide paper image to the stone. Figure 4 depicts the surface of the stone as I removed the tusche. You can see the outline of the iron oxide on the sides of the drawing. Figure 5 depicts the final image on the stone (note: I flipped the image so that you would see it as it would be seen in the final print.)
The following blog will provide two images related to horses and transportation. The first image is an aluminum plate lithograph that has been hand colored. Its an image I created several years ago while taking a printmaking class. I developed the concept thinking about horses and horsepower. I juxtaposed the two images of the automobile and the horse to show how the common mode of transportation has changed over the past 125 years. Figure 1 depicts Horses and Horsepower.
The next image is a recent adaptation in black and white of the motif Horsemen II. The symmetry group is D1gg. I enjoyed creating this image as its very graphic. My favorite images are pure black and white and this is my own take on M.C. Escher's tessellation "Horsemen"(No. 67). The image is more angular and is not as elegant as MCE's but complements my other horsemen image which faces one direction as a D1kk. Figure 2- Horsemen II (2017) and Figure 3- Time Warp with unidirectional horses.
Michael Wilson has been creating tessellation art for over 30 years and is preparing this blog to share thoughts on the subject.