Slow Recoveries and (Hopefully) Emerging Butterflies

Blue Butterfly (Watercolour)

Blue Butterfly (Watercolour)

Today’s the 1st of April, and we’re a quarter of the way through 2015… but rather than practical jokes, today I’m finally trying to make some positive inroads into the year after encountering a few big personal hurdles, and so my first post in over two months is going to be in celebration of slow recoveries.

You won’t want to hear all the gory details (believe me!) but so much has happened in the past three months that I’m somewhat amazed it’s only April. On the other hand, the time has moved slowly for me and I’ve had too many hours to think about the past, the future, where I might be going with it all… and I’ve found it very hard to think of painting… hopefully that’s coming to an end, I picked up a paintbrush today and played around with a blue butterfly…

I have to give credit for my inspiration to a blog post earlier this week by my favourite artist, Jean Haines, as she wrote about painting to overcome the hiccups in your life. It was one of those uncanny moments where you read something that seems to be addressed to you personally… I had been meaning for weeks to enter a competition of hers featured in the Artist magazine and celebrating the colour blue, and this gave me the nudge to get started.

I did, unfortunately, come to the drawing board too late as the closing date was yesterday, but I still managed to get some paint on paper and even enjoy myself in the process – unfinished and not my best work, but hardly surprising after so long an absence!

Spicevine Swallowtail Study in Watercolour

Pipevine Swallowtail (Watercolour)

Pipevine Swallowtail (Watercolour)

I tries another watercolour sketch this evening, but it turned out quite a bit more detailed than planned and as a result is a little over worked. I thought a butterfly would be quite a simple shape to paint on the fly, without guidelines, but I don’t think my mind was in the right space for this session. I lost the light spots and then had to lift them out, adding opaque Naples Yellow to bring them back into the first wing and along the edge of the second wing.

Anyway, despite a bit of fiddling where my brushwork wasn’t as accurate as it should have been, the final result wasn’t too bad.

Day 150: Butterfly Wings

 

Butterfly Wings (Watercolour)

Butterfly Wings (Watercolour)

I thought I would have a play today with how the fairy wings might look, so here are three possible variations. I had many more to try but unfortunately I ran out of time…

It took much longer than expected to try these out. It also took longer for me to slip into a butterfly wing painting mode, but it did start to come eventually – a good reason to practice these things regularly!

 

Day 138: Pink Hibiscus and Butterfly

Pink Hibiscus (Watercolour)

Pink Hibiscus (Watercolour)

Of course, when I wrote yesterday’s post I had forgotten that today is Monday with Chinese Painting Class, and hence there will be no lemon update today. Instead I have the final instalment of the pink hibiscus.

If you recall, while practising on Thursday last week I was trying to remember how to paint the leaves based on a lesson of last year. Well, this afternoon I had the benefit of a couple of refresher demonstrations during class and the resulting painting shown here is much more confident, the leaf shapes are better and the graduation of the paint is much smoother too.

I do need more practice the butterfly though, it turned out a bit big and somewhat lopsided 😛 I also need to learn to keep my sleeve out of the paint – I’ve been having a particularly clumsy day today and you can see splashes and marks on the right hand side from my messiness… and I folded the corner of the page accidentally as well 🙂

Day 94: Butterfly & Thistle, Pt. 4

Butterfly & Thistle (Watercolour)

Butterfly & Thistle (Watercolour)

I’m rather lost for anything to say today… this piece has been the most enjoyable I’ve attempted all year and I’m really pleased with the results, despite fiddling a bit too much today with the left hand thistle – it did have a couple of natural highlights before I messed them up!

You might also have noticed I’ve cropped the scan, which I hope has given it a better composition. Let me know if you think otherwise, I do find composition quite tricky.

So, a new practice piece to begin tomorrow… I wonder what it will be 🙂