Becoming a Butterfly

The Yellow Butterfly

This yellow butterfly happen to land on my daughter’s finger the week before I prepared for this lesson. How amazing God is.

“How does one become a butterfly?” she asked. “You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.”

I recently thought about this quote. I was preparing for the Bass Museum’s “Arts and Literacy” final class for the school year. We will be read “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle. I really love this book.

This week’s theme is “Discover New Things.” For seven weeks, we have discussed the importance of reading and the arts. I will encourage families to continue what they have started and to learn new things during the summer.

Pop up butterfly.

The pop up butterfly with narrative that my grandson did to help me prepare for my class.

The arts and literacy are a powerful combo. Reading a book 20 minutes a day exposes children to 1,000 words in a school year. “The amount of time that children read and are read to predicts whether they will be successful,” according to

The Bass Museum

The Bass Museum of Miami Beach, Florida.

The arts help to develop motor skills, language, inventiveness, decision making, improve academic performance, etc. Children who participate regularly in the arts “are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, to participate in a math and science fair or to win an award for writing an essay or poem than children who do not participate,” states

The President is also promoting the value of reading while honoring educators this week.


First Light

Cape Florida Lighthouse

My painting of Cape Florida Lighthouse copyrighted by Elaine Marie Austin.

After a week of rain, clouds, and thunder, I was excited about this sunny day. I arose at 6 am and traveled south. This painting of Cape Florida Lighthouse captures the emotions I felt.


Fort Myers Beach, Florida on Estero Island.

Fort Myers Beach, Florida on Estero Island.


I read an article that cited where the happiest people in the Unites States live. And as I looked at Florida it was the “other Florida” that got the highest marks.

It seems all the happiest people in the state live in Naples. Surrounded by quiet beaches and estuaries the West Coast of Florida is one of my favorite places to visit.

When I visited Fort Myers Beach on Estero Island last year for an Art Trip I feel in love with the area. Not only is it surrounded by estuaries, it is also a haven for artists. For me it was the best of both worlds.


Fort George Island, Florida

Fort George Island, Florida


Orlando has become the iconic symbol of Florida. Walt Disney World is the number one tourist attraction in Florida with South Beach running a close second.

I love the beaches of South Florida. But my favorite place in Florida is the state’s estuaries. When I am there it is easy for me to imagine what Florida used be like. There’s something calming and quiet about visiting an estuary. The “rivers of grass,”manatees, and egrets make for a peaceful day. Life’s troubles and hurries pale against God’s creation at its best. I often seek out an estuary when looking for a place to paint.

Fort George Island near Jacksonville is my favorite estuary and my favorite place to paint. It’s a place most tourists bypass and that’s fine with me.

The Show Must Go On

The Widening the Cycle exhibit needs sponsors and donors.

This thematic exploration of menstrual cycle and issues related to reproductive justice will be on display June 4-6, 2015 at Suffolk University Law School in Boston. This bold collection features artworks created by artists from 10 countries.


My painting the “Death of Fertility” at Fort George Island, Florida.

My painting Death of Fertility is a part of the June exhibit. Of the 159 submissions only 38 pieces will be on display.

For more information contact, Jen Lewis at