My name is John McDonald and I am known as the Butterfly Cry Artist. I painted Butterfly Cry in Derby, UK, in 2016. The painting, a creative and expressive portrait, of an artist I call my Mexican Heroine, had a strange power even then.

You can read quite a lot into my practice from my artist statement, but I would like to share the story of how I became the Butterfly Cry Artist, and the transformative power of what came out of it.

In March 2021 my painting Butterfly Cry, along with three other portraits of My Mexican Heroine, has been officially licensed to PSTR Studios, a Fine Art Print company, based in The Netherlands. I am pleased and proud to be part of an international collaboration, and happy to offer such high quality licensed reproductions direct from PSTR Studios.

Short Films

Another person who pushed open my front door was award-winning film maker Joshua Timmins, then a first year undergraduate: he saw me painting through the window and asked if he could make a film with me about my art. He called the film ‘Butterfly Cry’ from the title of my painting, and it was widely shared; I used the same name for my first solo exhibition, and it was around then that people started to call me ‘the Butterfly Cry Artist’. The second film ‘Swan’s Signature’ was nominated for several international film festivals, and awarded the Royal Television Society Award for best short factual.


Watch Swan's Signature


I have recently undertaken work as an artist where there is more sustained engagement. The revelation to me, following sculpture project with Aegir School as a lead artist for Arts Council England’s ‘Splash!’ project, and working as artist in residence at Chapel Arts Studios in Andover (Unlimited CAS: AIR Themes of Life), is that working with people to unleash their creativity is one of the most important parts of my practice.

Browse Work...

A Glasgow Affair

A Moment In Time

A Room With A View Without

A Wee Sweetie

Blue Trees & Butterflies

Butterfly Cry

Dare You

Et Tu ManKind

Eveline An Irish Heroine

Highland Scullery


Last Glance


Life Of McBrian

Looking Glass

Mother God

One Love

The Art Collector

The Big Yins

Tiffany A Girl of Glasgow