Greta Thunberg portrait as a butterfly

I wanted to convey the fragility and beauty of Ms Thunberg so I painted her as a butterfly.

Abstract painting - Greta Thunberg Portrait As A Butterfly
Click on image to view full size

There are few people in the world I admire as much as young Greta. She’s incedible in that she has an intense belief that we are in a climate crisis (I agree) and has then followed through with her activism.

  • Greta Thunberg is both a fragile person and at the same time a powerful force of nature.
  • I laugh at the barrage of idiotic attacks against her. Rarely do her attackers ever engage in any meaningful way with what she says.
  • Another incredibly beautiful painting of mine. Full of complex form and color. Oh and a butterfly.


Dimensions: 90x60cm.
Painted: 2020.
Materials: Acrylic on MDF board.
Availability: For sale $1500.

The story behind Greta Thunberg Portrait as a Butterfly

I have been fascinated by Greta Thunberg since she gave such a passionate speech at the UN Climate Change Conference in late 2018. I was stunned with her brutal honesty. In one of her speeches (see here) she tells us of her Asperger’s syndrome, OCD and selective mutism.

For those of us who are on the spectrum, almost everything is black or white, we aren’t very good at lying, we usually don’t enjoy participating in the social game that the rest of you are so fond of.

I have Borderline Personality Disorder and these three aspects I share with Greta. She has shown enormous courage and wisdom and basically lets fly at the immorality and dishonesty of the worlds elite. When I saw this I was truly in awe of this young lady. I saw a frail looking girl unleash her powerful words with such a force it was quite shocking.

When I decided to paint Greta’s portrait I could of just painted a photograph, but that wouldn’t do her justice. So I went with the totally abstract approach.

I wanted to convey the fragility and beauty of Ms Thunberg so I painter her as a butterfly.

And to finish off I think the words are best left to Greta.


My message is that we’ll be watching you.

This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!

You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!

For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you’re doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.

You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that. Because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. And that I refuse to believe.

The popular idea of cutting our emissions in half in 10 years only gives us a 50% chance of staying below 1.5 degrees [Celsius], and the risk of setting off irreversible chain reactions beyond human control.

Fifty percent may be acceptable to you. But those numbers do not include tipping points, most feedback loops, additional warming hidden by toxic air pollution or the aspects of equity and climate justice. They also rely on my generation sucking hundreds of billions of tons of your CO2 out of the air with technologies that barely exist.

So a 50% risk is simply not acceptable to us — we who have to live with the consequences.

To have a 67% chance of staying below a 1.5 degrees global temperature rise – the best odds given by the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] – the world had 420 gigatons of CO2 left to emit back on Jan. 1st, 2018. Today that figure is already down to less than 350 gigatons.

How dare you pretend that this can be solved with just ‘business as usual’ and some technical solutions? With today’s emissions levels, that remaining CO2 budget will be entirely gone within less than 8 1/2 years.

There will not be any solutions or plans presented in line with these figures here today, because these numbers are too uncomfortable. And you are still not mature enough to tell it like it is.

You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you.

We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.

Thank you.


Abstract painting - Greta Thunberg Portrait As A Butterfly - Detail view 1
Abstract painting – Greta Thunberg Portrait As A Butterfly – Detail view 1
Abstract painting - Greta Thunberg Portrait As A Butterfly - Detail view 2
Abstract painting – Greta Thunberg Portrait As A Butterfly – Detail view 2
Abstract painting - Greta Thunberg Portrait As A Butterfly - Detail view 3
Abstract painting – Greta Thunberg Portrait As A Butterfly – Detail view 3
Abstract painting - Greta Thunberg Portrait As A Butterfly - Detail view 4
Abstract painting – Greta Thunberg Portrait As A Butterfly – Detail view 4
Abstract painting - Greta Thunberg Portrait As A Butterfly - Detail view 5
Abstract painting – Greta Thunberg Portrait As A Butterfly – Detail view 5
Abstract painting - Greta Thunberg Portrait As A Butterfly - Detail view 6
Abstract painting – Greta Thunberg Portrait As A Butterfly – Detail view 6
Abstract painting - Greta Thunberg Portrait As A Butterfly - Detail view 7
Abstract painting – Greta Thunberg Portrait As A Butterfly – Detail view 7
Abstract painting - Greta Thunberg portrait as a butterfly - Wall mockup
Abstract painting – Greta Thunberg portrait as a butterfly – Wall mockup

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