Tuesday, May 19, 2015


10 x 20 inches - watercolour/coloured pencil/acrylic paints

This blog post is about a mixed media piece I recently finished. My inspiration for this painting was a photo Frank took of a Pipe Vine Swallowtail. I used the pink phlox the swallowtail was perching on as a background......I added in some more flowers along a fence line to extend the composition. And of course that led to a far off background shot of our barn.

I started this piece off with watercolour washes. I really wanted to capture the delicate colours of the spring phlox. I thought the slightly backlit flowers would make a great foil for the intense black and blue iridescence of the butterfly. 

I continued on with strengthing the colours of the phlox foliage with more watercolours and began putting in detail darks with coloured pencils.

I then worked on the phlox blossoms themselves.....using both watercolours and colored pencils as needed.

FINALLY, after getting the flowers in order, I could work on the main event.....the butterfly. I started off with painting the black of the upper butterfly wings in opaque acrylic paint....using only a thin coat of paint. I wanted to be able to go over it with colored pencils if needed. I also glazed over the lower part of the butterfly with phthalo blue glazes, keeping it intense and dark, so's the interference paint would have a suitable backdrop. I finally ended up using a interference blue (iridescent paint) over the black and blue wings.....to give the butterfly some of it's ethereal color. This appearance of changing colours happens when the painting is viewed from different angles.

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