I'm the same Tom. I get very excited if I get a decent image of a butterfly (or moth). We had a huge influx of Painted Ladies earlier in the summer and I did get one or two photos of them.
Painted Ladies! . Oh, wow!
I found a Painted Lady back in 2015. . I didn't know what it was, but I was so freaking excited because of its striking beauty. . Got a few okay pics before it fled. . Got home and looked it up and that's when I found that it was called a Painted Lady. . Have wanted to see a Painted Lady ever since, in the hopes of getting better quality photos, but that remains the only one I have ever seen in my lifetime.
Last month there was a rumor on Facebook about some butterflies being attracted to a patch of blooming Coreopsis about 150 miles south of me. . So, one Saturday back in August I drove to the Coreopsis patch in hopes of finding a Painted Lady there. . There were a few other types of butterflies, but none that were uncommonly beautiful like that Painted Lady was. . Spent a few hours trying to get close to the butterflies that were there, with very little success. . Didn't manage to come away with any quality images. . A whole day spent, and 300 miles of driving, for zero quality images.
This is pretty much how it goes for me with butterflies - lots of time and effort invested, with no success