Butterfly Effect

I have been working on this piece for a while now. It has taken many layers of watercolor paint to get it just the way I want it. I’m still counting on being able to add glitter to it. It was interesting to see the many stages of development it went through. Below I have posted all the stages of this project so you can see the progress I made. At the pace I was going with it, I felt like a snail!  Whew! Enjoy.

I wanted to do something whimsical with blue morpho butterflies (my favorite). So I began the sketch (which ended up on two separate sheets of sketch paper-silly me):

When I was finally ready (by ready I mean brave enough to add color) I sketched it onto watercolor paper with less detail and actually made good use of the light box this time. I used watercolor pencils for the bottom of the tree trunk (all the little lines and details). Next I added light layers of Daler Rowney watercolors in Deep Green, Sap Green, Black, and Ultramarine (for the eyes); Lemon Yellow, and  Sap Green (girls shirt); Crimson Red, and Vermillion (girls hair; Coeruleum (for the lace on the shirt); and Burnt Umber, Vermillion, and Crimson Red (for skin color). The photo below is after a few light layers of watercolor and watercolor pencil. The last layer I did on this was a bit of shadowing on the face and neck and I also added some cheek color (crimson red and white). Finally I added Lemon Yellow on the shoulders and between the eyelids and eyebrows and parts of her nose. The wings of the butterflies are done strictly in watercolor pencil (different shades of blue):

Now, this is where I sent crazy with Lemon Yellow (lately everything I do has quite a bit of yellow in it) on the tree after sketching in more detail on the trunk. I’m happy with it for now:

Until…I add more detail and a whole lot of grass. They I really have my hands busy…lots of small dots there with different shades of blues and greens, and lines. Dots and lines. Lots of them. And by this time I deceded the tree trunk was no where near complete and had to add more texture to the top of the trunk and the branches (I know, I know…two isn’t many branches). Of course now was the time to add another layer or tow of Lemon Yellow to the trunk.

And finally, I happen to be watching Sesame Street (which sparked the idea) with the munchkin and get an visual for how to finish my painting. I hop to it by adding trees in the background with Coeruleum and Ultramarine and a bit of Lemon Yellow for added light. It was all very blurry and trial-and-error-by-the-seat-of-my-pants at first, but I think I got the hang of it. To top it all off, I added more grass and some Lemon Yellow (again with the yellow!) on the ground for shadow and light under the trees,  and more Vermillion for the hair. I also, filled in the rest of the background between grass and trees with some MORE yellow. Figures. I think the last touch was the headband, which was a mix of Coeruleum and Lemon Yellow to show areas of  sunlight.

So now you know I’ve been hard at work. I plan to keep up the pace, and I think yellow is here to stay. So get used to it. 🙂


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2 responses to “Butterfly Effect

  1. Wow! A festival of color! Love it.

  2. It was great to see this step by step, you are quite the talented artist and I love all the colors!

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