Thursday, 22 January 2015

The Social Butterfly, (and other bugs)

Ha ha, well after my last post on not being the most social of butterflies I thought at least I could have a go at painting one. Earlier this month, my good friend Shevaun Doherty painted a beautiful Painted Lady butterfly on vellum using some pretty iridescent paints from Daniel Smith to highlight the shimmer on it's wings. Elsewhere Dianne Sutherland posted some beautiful paintings of butterflies on Facebook and Sarah Morrish has been at it too with specimens from the Winchester Museum Service collections. These paintings all looked stunning and with so much inspiration, I remembered that I had taken some photos of a Red Admiral Butterfly in the garden that came out quite well, and thought, go on give it a go.

'Literature and butterflies are the two sweetest passions known to man.'
Vladimir Nabokov

Just hanging around.

This Red Admiral butterfly appears to have got a little tipsy on rotting apples 

Ah, that's better.
By the magic of PC we get a better view of this handsome beast.
The shimmer on the wings is so beautiful, especially when the sun is on them

(and he has his dignity back)

The great thing about these butterflies is that I can use the lovely Daniel Smith reds that I have. The scarlet shades will be really useful and if I can get hold of them, a touch of the iridescent colours to add the characteristic shimmer on the wings. There are loads of these shimmery colours to choose from but below are just two that caught my eye.


Duochrome Saguaro Green by Daniel Smith
c/o Jackson's Art Supplies

Iridescent Sunstone by Daniel Smith
c/o Jackson's Art Supplies


The iridescent look amazing, especially when used on dark paper. To capture this, I think an underwash of darker tones will allow the shimmer to shine. In the palette not only have I got the lovely Daniel Smith samples but also the luxurious M. Graham colours I recently treated myself to. These are becoming a firm favourite of mine and I am just finding any excuse to buy more. Added to this are the new brushes I got as a present for my birthday. I'm all out of excuses.


Anthraquinoid Red, Pyrrol Red and Pyrrol Transparent Orange all make superb mixes.
Quinacridone Gold and my favourite Perylene Maroon will have to make an appearance too. 

Dream Carrier, Bringer of Sleep, Bringer of News

According to a Blackfoot Indian:
You know that it is the butterfly who brings us our dreams — who brings the news to us when we are asleep. Have you never heard a man say, when he sees a butterfly fluttering over the prairie, ‘There is a little fellow flying about that is going to bring news to someone tonight.’? Or have you not heard a person say after the fire burns low and the people begin to make up their beds about the lodge, ‘Well, let us go to bed and see what news the butterfly will bring?’

You never know, once I get going with these critters, I might not be able to stop


One of my favourites from the garden last year.
This dragonfly just landed right in front of me and landed on a branch.

And who doesn't love a big bumbly bee
Plenty of pollen and nectar carrying plants and flowers will get grown in the garden.  

1 comment:

chrishaywoodart said...

I would go for it. There is a whole world of fascinating insect life out there just waiting for your beautiful painting. Making them sit still to be photographed is the tricky part.