Tuesday, 3 December 2013


This weeks subject at Avon Valley Artists was Birds and Butterflies.
I have a book of butterfly photos and on browsing through it, came across a photo of a huge swarm of Monarch butterflies, sunning themselves on some warm rocks.

I thought it might make a lovely pattern painting.

                                          From 'Butterflies' By David Badger and Brian Kenny

I had no intention of making exact drawings of each butterfly, and was not even concerned about them being true monarchs. I just wanted to have a go at producing a fresh attractive painting where the subject was obviously butterflies, but nothing specific.
I liked the way there were lots of different shapes, plenty of white and that lovely rich orange colour. I instantly thought of using Transparent Orange and Pthalo and Cobalt Teal blues for the background.

The process was simple. I drew out the shapes using first a pencil and then a fine black liner pen. I then washed over the shapes with the Transparent Orange, leaving plenty of white. Large areas of black were painted in Indian Ink.
I used the two blues and some Quinachridone Rust for the background, and that was about all. Two points to make:
1. It took ages to do the drawings and I was quite bored with the whole thing by the time I got to the end of the pen drawing, and in places I got quite careless. It needs patience!
2. I had various pens on the table at the time, and did not realise that I had picked up a non permanent one for a small part of the drawing and so when I added the wash, the black lines bled into the wet paint.I need to be more careful!

                                                      'Butterflies' (unknown paper)


  1. A strong graphic image, very different to your normal work but none the worse for that.

    1. Thanks Mick. I try to use AVA as an experimental session and my usual work gets mainly done in the studio, Personal reasons have prevented me from getting too much studio work done, but hopefully I will be able to settle to a bit more of my usual work.

  2. I agree with Mick on this one, unusual and eye catching.

    1. Thanks for the comments Ray. I am a great one for a bit of a change of style, especially at AVA group.