Day #1 of 5 Hecale Longwing

For my first butterfly painting, I decided to paint this longwing beauty. I took the left and upper right photo at the Butterfly Pavilion at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. I believe it is a Tiger Longwing. On Monday (Day 5), I will tell you a bit more about this particular species. The bottom right photo was taken in Alabama by a stream. I thought the heart shapes and scale would work well in the composition with the long variegated leaves.

When using my photos as inspiration, I  often use Photoshop to isolate the shapes as linework, (below.) This typically involves the use of Find Edges>Convert to Black & White and some adjustment to the contrast and brightness.

I use graphite transfer paper to transfer images onto the watercolor paper. Arches cold press or rough is my favorite. For this challenge I am using the 140#.

As you can see, if you look closely. I first put the closed butterfly just above the right wing of the open one. I decided that it pulled the eye out of the composition, so I erased and placed it in the upper left.

Come back tomorrow to see the first wash, complete with masking, intentional splatters and effects!


laurelle said...

I so appreciate your generosity in explaining your process. I visited your website and was quite impressed by your renderings and the unique subject matter and compositions you create. "Sea Swings" left me feeling the experience of lightness in space and surrounded by color. AWESOME!

Nancy Murphree Davis said...

Thanks, Laurelle. Sea Swings is one of my favorites too. I almost hate that I sold it. :)