Heliconia & Mosaic Butterfly Watercolor Painting

by Mindy on July 9, 2012

in 52/52 Challenge, Botanical Art, Butterfly Art, Costa Rica, Insect Art, Paintings, Uncategorized

Painting # 25 52/52 Challenge


"Mosiac Butterfly – Colobura dirce"- Watercolor by MLighthipe ©2012

It is time for me to start thinking about going to Costa Rica in February of 2013. It seems weird that in the heat of the summer I should be thinking of the tropics….. It already feels like I am there! I like to do a painting every now and again from my sketches from Costa Rica and my butterfly specimens. This painting combines two elements, a heliconia flower and a butterfly. It seems like a "no-brainer" but with some careful considerations, it is easy to combine 2 elements together in a painting. Together they make the painting more interesting than if they were 2 separate paintings. Here are some things that must be considered when merging 2 elements together:

  • What is the size proportion in relationship to each element? For instance if the butterfly was too small or too large it would not look right on the flower. Each element should be true to scale as it occurs in real life, otherwise the composition will not be accurate.
  • Are both elements found in the same location? If you are trying to depict something that is found in nature you must be careful that each element is found in the same ecosystem. A flower that only grows in an upland would never have a butterfly land on it, if the butterfly only lived at sea level. Make sure they are from the same country etc.
  • When the elements are placed together, does each one look as if it is a natural pose? If you are not careful the elements can look awkward and stiff. You may have to manipulate a part of the structure of an angle to create grace and movement.
  • Do the colors of each element fight one another, create tension, or do they create interest or harmony? Color combinations can be tricky. Sometimes it is best to make a quick color sketch to make sure the color is going to work the way you want it to. I originally had a blue butterfly in the composition and I really didn't like how the blue and the red/orange were working together. It seemed garish, so I switched to a neutral color butterfly instead.

I hope these tips give you confidence to start adding and combining elements together in your paintings. You don't always have to paint exactly what you see in front of you. You can mix it up, add an element or two of surprise in your paintings.

Do you combine elements in your paintings?  I would love to hear how you do it.

If you are interested in learning more about painting from your travels……. join us this coming winter in Costa Rica. We would love to have you join us!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Lois July 12, 2012 at 8:17 am

Proportion? Do you measure, or go by a book given the measurements.
Have a problem of drawing small then, copying it bigger, so it would be off proportion somewhat.
Thanks for sharing. You do Beautiful work….

Mindy July 12, 2012 at 10:37 am

Hi Lois,
I hate to measure but I find that when things are foreshortened in my drawing, the best way to handle it is by measuring. When measuring is done properly it is the most accurate way to get the drawing “right”. I usually draw on tracing paper and I find that if the scale/size of the drawing is either too big or too small I will go to a copy machine and enlarge or reduce it so that it is the size I want.The most important thing to watch out for is to make sure the proportions are correct. The size can always be altered later. I hope this helps. Happy drawing~ Mindy

Loia July 13, 2012 at 8:01 am

Thank you Mindy.
Yes, this helped. I wished I lived closer, as to take take your classes.
I keep all your Tips, it has helped me a lot.  so Thanks for sharing.

Mindy July 14, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Lois~ I am glad that you are enjoying the blog and finding useful information. Please feel free to contact me with other questions. Happy painting!

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