This week I wanted a chance to play with watercolour. Butterflies are very easy watercolour subjects so I decided to have a go…
I began with a fairly careful sketch. It was nothing too involved, but I wanted the wings to be balanced and basically accurate to their natural shape.
Then I began to paint. I had my plan for this worked out in my head beforehand and originally intended to photograph each stage.
The plan was…
- Add wet in wet gradients of cadmium yellow deep (with a touch of cadmium scarlet) across the wings.
- Paint, wet on dry, with a full strength version of the same colour to add veins and other details.
- Paint the wing tips, wet on dry, in mix of ivory black and raw umber.
- Paint wet in wet gradients of the the same colour.
- Paint the details of the body.
However, I got too absorbed to think about the camera and ended up painting the whole thing. Apologies for no process pictures.
It was a really enjoyable painting to work on. Here’s the final picture…
It was done on watercolour paper just under A4 size using W&N professional watercolour paints.
As you can see, I decided to add a shadow after completing my plan. I used a mix of darkish blues which I had left on my palette from another painting session. I thought it would work OK since blues contrast oranges well. (They’re my favourite complementary colour pairing.) One day I’d like to have a go at using an airbrush to lay down a shadow. It seems like the ideal tool for the job but I’ve never used one before. Perhaps I’ll get one and give it a go!
PS: If anyone knows the species of this butterfly I would love to know. I did use reference and, although I didn’t interpret it exactly, the wing colours are in the right places.