Si’s Tribute

Si's Tribute

Title: Si’s Tribute

Medium: Acrylic

Dimensions: 34 ¾″ x 43 ½″

Cost: SOLD

Each painting has a story behind it and this is the story behind Si’s Tribute. The painting is one of four that I created representing the four seasons of the year with prairie plants for the Overture Center exhibit in Madison, WI this summer.

Si’s Tribute

Last August on a beautiful, sunny afternoon, I was working in my flower garden when I paused to study a unique black butterfly. The butterfly caught my attention because I had never witnessed this type in my garden before. Watching the butterfly for several minutes as it lingered among the coneflowers, I made a mental note of the black color and pattern of small dots of yellow on the wings.

Several hours later, my husband and I learned of the sudden death that afternoon of our very dear friend, Sion Rogers.

The following evening, along with two other female friends, I carried food to the Rogers family. While we were talking with Si’s beloved wife, Kristine, one of the ladies relayed her Sunday afternoon experience of sighting a butterfly on the speedway of a car race. Thinking how unusual this location was for a butterfly, she felt perhaps it was a message from Si. He shared a passion for high performance cars. Sharon, however, did not mention the color of the butterfly. I listened to her story in stunned silence. The next day, I asked Sharon what color the butterfly was and she replied that it appeared black, as it was a distance away. She remarked again about how unusual the location was for a butterfly. I then relayed my garden butterfly experience.

Two days after Si’s passing, I was sitting in my car discussing these two coincidences and the tragedy of Si’s death with the third lady. Pam looked at me in utter shock and said “I saw a black butterfly in my garden on Sunday afternoon, too.” As we were talking, a butterfly flew right up to the open car window. We both burst into tears.

My wise mother-in-law explained the unusual phenomenon “That was Si telling the three of you to watch over Kristine.” Feeling comforted, I knew at that moment I would paint “Si’s Tribute.”

Fall became winter and the painting was almost completed. It was time to place the butterfly into the painting. I “googled” Black Butterflies to find images of the butterfly I had viewed in my garden that fateful day. Imagine my astonishment when I discovered that countries around the world consider the presence of the black butterfly the spirit of a recently, departed loved one. From the ancient Greeks to Japan, Ireland, the Philippines, Mexico and other countries, cultural folklore regards the black butterfly as the soul leaving the body. Needless to say, reading this information added to the surreal experience. Perhaps it was a “Godwink” as some would say.

You may wonder- who was this Sion Rogers? He was a husband, a father, a “Bubba” grandfather, and a business man. Si was a gracious, kind, loving man who was a people connector and a mentor to all ages. Many, many people were privileged to call Si a dear friend.

I am grateful to say I was one of the many.