We are going to be painting on my favorite watercolor support Ampersand's Aquabord, an 8"x10". I much prefer the Aquabord to paper.
For the composition I placed the butterfly to the right of center, facing into the painting.
The color scheme is a triad of colors equally spaced around the color wheel.
My painting colors are:
- orange, Cadmium Orange and Coral Orange
- green, Viridian Green and Sap Green
- purple, Quinacridone Violet and Dioxazine Violet
For additional watercolor preparations check out the watercolor basics page.
how to preserve the whites in watercolor
The first thing to learn about how to paint watercolor is how to get white in your painting.
- Leave the white paper unpainted is the simplest way to get the white in watercolor paintings.
- Masking fluid, also called frisket is a liquid rubbery type
substance that is applied to areas before painting.
- Frisket sheets can be cut to shape. Use them to cover large areas. Cut them a tiny bit smaller than the area you are protecting. Then use the liquid frisket to seal down the edges.
- Masking tape may be used. It is good for straight lines like the horizon or the side of a building.
masking fluid (frisket)
- Lifting preparation may be applied before painting. Then paint may be removed down to the white of the paper.
- Sand paper may be used to remove the paint from the tops of the bumps of watercolor paper for added texture.
- Scratching and scrapping tools are available to use on Aquabord.
- A brisk water stream from a spray bottle will wash some paint away. Then blot up the loose paint and water.
- A damp brush
can also be used to lift paint. Rub the brush to loosen paint and blot
it up with a paper towel. Or use the brush in a straight line to make tree
trunks or leaf veins in a painted area.
Let's get started painting.
painting the butterfly
In this painting I use two of the most common methods of preserving the whites in watercolor paintings.
Leave some areas of the paper white and some masking fluid to keep some places paper white.
I applied frisket to areas on the flower and leaves.
frisket needs to be dry before painting. It takes about 30 minutes to
dry. You may speed the drying with a hair dryer. But don't get it too
hot or it will not be removable later.
I mixed a dark color with Viridian and Dioxazine Violet and painted around the white spots on the butterfly's wings.
Add orange to warm the mixture and make it brown for the areas closer to the body.
Use less water for darker colors. And obviously more water gives lighter colors.
When you near the butterfly's body start adding orange, blend it into the brown.
What are my favorite watercolor paint colors?
Paint around the white spots.
See the frisket on areas of the flower.
I would like to note just a bit of butterfly anatomy. Butterflies have four wings and six legs.
The wings and legs are attached to the thorax, the fat part of the body behind the head.
You can faintly see the division between the fore-wing and the hind-wing going at an angle up to the thorax.
Paint the dark border on the hind-wing.
Feather the colors together by running a clean damp brush along the juncture of the dark and orange.
Continue painting the butterfly wings.
Controlling the amount of water is one of the most important aspects of how to paint watercolor.
If necessary, darken the areas around the white spots. Adjust the shape of the white spots where needed.
Now turn your attention to the butterfly's body.
Paint the left, shadow side dark. Lighten the value toward the light and leave a few highlight for interest.
The body is partially covered by the edges of the hind-wings. The tail end of the body peaks out behind the wings.
Complete the butterfly.
Add a few dark veins to the fore-wings with brown. Lightly suggest veins in the hind wings.
We will do the butterfly head and antenna after the flower is painted.
When you are satisfied with the butterfly, move on to the flower.
What butterflies are commonly seen in the United States?