I began by washing the sheet of Fabriano Artistico Extra White 'Not' 300gm paper with clean water, and dropped in a variety of blues, including Cobalt, Ultramarine, Quinachridone and Teal. I also added a bit of Quinachridone Magenta in a couple of places.
I then did the drawing, trying to balance both sides of the butterfly, but adding a bit of variety.
The painting was done using the same colours as the background with additions of some earth colours for the body and some black ink with plenty of water for the bottom edges of the wings.
The original wash gave lovely variations of colours between the wing markings, but it did have the disadvantage of taking away some of the freshness and translucence of the blue markings. Trying to keep it as fresh as possible, I did use some white gouache to replace the lost whiteness of the paper. I was not totally sure what I was doing with the painting, as I wanted it to be a bit loose and to have some lost edges, so I tried to keep reminding myself that the wings needed treating in the same way as I normally treat flower petals, and if I did that, it would turn out ok.
I painted the upper side much more loosely using less careful brushstrokes and plenty of water so that the top left edges bled into the background and I omitted quite a bit of the detail in this area, too, I then completed the background with washes of Teal Blue and Indian Yellow, and added a half identifiable second Butterfly in a much warmer colour.
When the painting was finished, I completed the image by adding black lines using Indian ink on a fine paintbrush and a fine-line permanent marker to highlight some of the drawing lines and I then, as usual, gave the whole thing a good splatter, using a variety of colours from the painting, including the Indian Ink..
On the whole, I am very pleased with the outcome and feel that the subject is worth pursuing. My only reservation is the second butterfly which I hope does not detract from the freshness of the main subject.
'Butterfly 2' 30cm x 45cm
Since finishing the painting, and looking at it from time to time propped up in the studio, I decided that the secondary butterfly needed its shape improving and the whit areas on the RH side needed a little toning down. I have made the necessary adjustments and hope that, although they are minimal, you think I was right to do so! (Taking photos at different times of day makes consistency of colour a bit difficult....my apologies!)