Last year I went in search of birds and I found red admiral butterflies. This year I’ve photographed plenty of birds as I’ve been good about filling the bird feeder, but it has been sparse on butterflies. One of the advantages of art is you can re-create what you like in a watercolor.
This watercolor is inspired by an exercise in the book One Watercolor a Day by Veronica Lawlor in which you are supposed to paint a design, such as a butterfly, using masking fluid. After drawing your design in pencil on watercolor paper, you paint the masking fluid on the white paper first, then let it draw. Once it is draw (takes about fifteen minutes), you can paint on top of it and around it. When your paint dries, you can then carefully peel off the masking fluid (I used an eraser). You will now see the bright white of the paper. That’s the best way to get white in a watercolor painting: let the paper show through. I used masking fluid where you see veins of the leaves, white dots on the butterfly, and also for the orange areas. I painted in the orange after I peeled off the masking fluid.
I may try this exercise again with a different sort of design. Maybe I’ll look one up in a book – a castle might kind of interesting for example, or a dragon. Someone did a simple paintbrush with a variety of colors and got beautiful results. I originally thought of painting a bird, but it didn’t seem to lend itself well to a masking fluid project. I want something with different parts and pieces that can be separated with the white lines I create with the masking fluid.
Thank you to Michelle of Rambling Woods who helped me identify those red admiral butterflies last May. If you want to see what else I’ve been inspired to paint from nature, here is a red cardinal watercolor painting.
On a completely different note than a red admiral butterfly watercolor painting, here is a photograph of my daughter and my husband at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City (I’m posting this so she can use it for a project in school, where the teacher said they can only use photos from Google Images (?!x!?)):
My favorite part of the Metropolitan Museum is the American Wing. If you have been there, what is your favorite part? Do you have a favorite in another art museum?