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<span style="font-style:italic;">“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”</span> ~ Maya Angelou

Black Butterfly series, miniature portrait of poet and author <a href=" Angelou</a>. Charcoal and white pastel on Mylar drafting film with digital print poem underlay, in vintage tabletop swing frame. Image size 9 × 7″


<span style="font-weight:bold;">Still I Rise</span> by Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

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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  • Rhinovangogh
    Rhinovangoghover 5 years ago

    You are brilliant. Bringing this beautiful soul to art ,,,,ahhhhhh you sooooo rock dear woman! Wow. I love Mya Angelou once again Alice you shine!

  • First arrived again Rhino – :) Thanks – yes, she IS beautiful – what a life! She truly rose up from nothing and has accomplished incredible things. Never read a quote from her I didn’t like.

    – Alice McMahon

  • Tahnja
    Tahnjaover 5 years ago

    yes indeed, Alice you rockstar you! hehehe….another inspirational work filled with great depth and beauty. She is inspirational like you!

  • Ah, most of us have a long way to go to be THAT inspiring, but it’s good to take baby steps. xx

    – Alice McMahon

  • Janne Kearney
    Janne Kearneyover 5 years ago

    Ya gotta love Angelou, and you’ve done her proud well done indeed!

  • Thanks dear Janne. What you been up to?

    – Alice McMahon

  • Isa Rodriguez
    Isa Rodriguezover 5 years ago


  • WOW! So quick! An honor to be featured in your awesome group Isa. Do you have another sucker? :)

    – Alice McMahon

  • Tania Palermo
    Tania Palermoover 5 years ago

    beautiful! i love maya angelou as well.

  • Thank you Tania. I enjoyed viewing your portfolio, keep up the good work!

    – Alice McMahon

  • thepaintedsoul
    thepaintedsoulover 5 years ago

    I’ve enjoyed this theme in your work Alice. You have such an astute observation and interpretation of your subject. Well done!

  • I had the idea, decided on the poem and composition, drew it, printed the backing, framed it, took the photos and blogged the piece in a single day. The decision making took the most time by far. Thanks PaintedSoul! You are always so kind.

    – Alice McMahon

  • WonderlandGlass
    WonderlandGlassover 5 years ago

    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. (speechless)…. sometimes there are no adequate words to express the depth of emotions engendered by sublime beauty and totally engaging art…. which this is.
    Thank you for creating this tribute to one of the true butterflies of this or any generation, my friend. Peace

  • Yes I think Maya is truly a fitting subject for Black Butterfly. I chose this Angelou poem in particular because of what I’m seeing happening in the US today. So discouraging. Thanks and Peace Doug.

    – Alice McMahon

  • Leith
    Leithover 5 years ago

    Nice tribute and an equally great frame Alice!

  • I now have three poet Butterfly drawings in vintage tabletop frames and plan to make an installation of them. Getting there Leith. Thanks!

    – Alice McMahon

  • Sean Farragher
    Sean Farragherover 5 years ago


  • danita clark
    danita clarkover 5 years ago

    Ahhh wonderful addition to your series, how heartfelt and touching this one is Alice

  • Easy to have your heart touched by this great woman. Thanks for touching mine too danita!

    – Alice McMahon

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