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Model: Bubbler Brett Manning


From the Black Butterfly series, charcoal on mylar drafting film, with white backing paper 19 × 32″

From a reference photo self-portrait by Redbubble friend Brett Manning, aka brettisagirl. The piece is inspired by Brett’s artistic “muses” (the butterflies) art, fashion, design, illustration, drawing, her Frankie, coffee, chocolate, her kitties, her puppies, and 60’s music, especially Bob Dylan. The butterflies are “ideas” that flutter around her head. The necklace is a nod to fashion, and to the lyric in Bob Dylan’s tune of the same name. “The World’s Biggest Necklace” is also from Egyptian mythology.

There are eleven butterflies, symbolic for myself and my ten siblings.

“Isis” lyrics by Bob Dylan:

I married Isis on the fifth day of May,
But I could not hold on to her very long.

So I cut off my hair and I rode straight away
For the wild unknown country where I could not go wrong.

I came to a high place of darkness and light.

The dividing line ran through the center of town.

I hitched up my pony to a post on the rise,
Went in to a laundry to wash my clothes down.

A man in the corner approached me for a match.

I knew right away he was not ordinary.

He said, “Are you lookin’ for somethin’ easy to catch?”
I said, “I got no money.” He said, "That ain’t necessary.

We set out that night for the cold in the North.

I gave him my blanket, he gave me his word.

I said, “Where are we goin’?” He said we’d be back by the fourth.

I said, "That’s the best news that I’ve ever heard.

I was thinkin’ about turquoise, I was thinkin’ about gold,
I was thinkin’ about diamonds and the world’s biggest necklace.

As we rode through the canyons, through the devilish cold,
I was thinkin’ about Isis, how she thought I was so reckless.

I specialize in figurative charcoal drawing. My work was recently shown and sold at the Saatchi Gallery in London. Current works delve into the realm of symbolism and magic realism.
All of my drawings are meant to be noble representations of individual subjects, and also bring together a wealth of influences, recognition of art history and myth and a contemporary attitude to create images that are of the moment, but hopefully will also remain relevant in the future.

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  • Anita Inverarity
    Anita Inverarityalmost 6 years ago

    This is gorgeous Alice xx

  • You are always so kind Anita. I still see just a tweak or two, besides the photography, now that it’s posted. I’m glad it’s easy to swap out images on RB.

    – Alice McMahon

  • Anita Inverarity
    Anita Inverarityalmost 6 years ago

    I will have a look at your tweakings- looks perfect from here x

  • mhkantor
    mhkantoralmost 6 years ago

    wonderful work. one of my favorite songs.

  • I always loved the song too, and listened to “Desire” repeatedly in the basement rec room when I was a teen while I was drawing album cover art, etc.

    Funny that Brett likes all the same music I did as a young woman, but in my day it was current! She sort of has the “look” I had as a young woman as well. I feel quite motherly to her, she visits my studio frequently with her artist boyfriend, and she is very talented and creative. It was a pleasure to draw her.

    You are always so supportive mh! Thank you. xx

    – Alice McMahon

  • sorina
    sorinaalmost 6 years ago

    beautiful work!

  • Leith
    Leithalmost 6 years ago

    Excellent likeness Alice, she must be pleased as punch!
    A good kick start after the recent winged flight overseas..
    Keep em’ coming :)

  • Brett seems to have flown the coop for a few days herself Leith, she hasn’t seen the completed work. But she was tickled about the beginnings, alright. I have several more BB pieces in the planning stages, and a solo show coming up by September. The dust will be flying. :) Thanks!

    – Alice McMahon

  • Angel Warda
    Angel Wardaalmost 6 years ago


  • mscholl21
    mscholl21almost 6 years ago

    so dreamy…so beautiful.

  • Thanks Michael. Oh, to be 22 again! :)

    – Alice McMahon

  • ShadowDancer
    ShadowDanceralmost 6 years ago

    wow, it’s beautiful and it looks just like her.. what a striking pose, and i love the butterflies and necklace. fabulous job!

  • As soon as I saw this photo of Brett, I knew I had to draw her. Thanks ShadowDancer!

    – Alice McMahon

  • Sean Farragher
    Sean Farragheralmost 6 years ago

    beautiful work

  • Janne Kearney
    Janne Kearneyalmost 6 years ago

    Great piece of work Alice.

  • Thanks Janne. xx

    – Alice McMahon

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