“Psyche” — this is what Aristotle, with his interest in the metamorphosis of insects, named the butterfly in ancient Greece. Many other cultures also relate butterflies to the human soul.

“Mysterious and symbolic, butterflies are a beautiful metaphor representing spiritual rebirth, transformation, hope and life,” says Costa Rican artist Daniela Vargas-Winiker.

Growing up in the countryside, near a volcano, Daniela was surrounded by nature and animals and enjoyed a lot of freedom. Having these connections with days full of adventure and exploration fueled her artistic creativity. Later, living in the capital city of San José, she was surrounded by exposure to art.

“Butterflies have been my theme and inspiration for many years,” Vargas-Winiker tells us. “They represent brevity and instability in mortal life, with their amazing change from a caterpillar to a butterfly. I liken it to the journey of a soul, from a physical body to a divine one. They are the insect of the soul.”

Combining multiple materials such as oil, graphite, gold or silver leaf or varnish, allows her to create layers of relief to make the medium feel organic.

“I love experimentation,” says Daniela. “Sometimes I draw, cut and paste, and then I sand and start all over again on the surfaces that remain to create new and different textures.”

Breaking borders and taking her art to unsuspected latitudes, by exposing her works both nationally and internationally, is what Vargas-Winiker considers one of the most significant aspects of her career.

The strengthening of Daniela’s knowledge and skills, and the emergence of her own style and focus, is attributed to her participation at numerous workshops of prominent Costa Rican artists, such as Gonzalo Morales Saurez, Guillermo Porras On, Rodrigo Brenes and Marijose Teran.

Themes developed by Daniela are created with much study and research, whether she is replicating the insects of Costa Rica or embellishing with her imagination.

As Daniela notes, “Through painting I express myself. My ideas, thoughts and feelings become captured on the canvas, providing satisfaction, peace and joy, with the intention to carry a universal, positive and inspirational message to the viewers.”

You can see the permanent exhibit of Daniela Vargas-Winiker at the Hidden Garden Art Gallery, located 5 kms. west of the Daniel Oduber (Guanacaste) International Airport. For more information, visit  or email:

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