These beautiful white butterflies with prominent black veins are residents in the United Kingdom. Their name denotes their appearance, Black-veined White butterflies.
Using my artistic license they are painted on purple thistle flowers that are common in the United States. The butterflies here like the thistle flowers, so hopefully they will, too.
Watercolor may be done on watercolor paper, watercolor canvas or Aquabord. Watercolor paintings done on cold-pressed paper are very nice.
However I prefer to use Claybord or Aquabord. This butterfly painting is painted on Aquabord made by Ampersand.
I used tube watercolor paints for painting butterflies.
Mix your greens from the blue and yellow and use purple to darken the greens when necessary.
Apply art masking fluid around the butterflies to keep them white.
Use a separate brush for the masking fluid. Don't use your watercolor brushes for applying the masking fluid. If it stays in the brush very long, it is very hard to get out.
Also, put some masking on the flowers and leaves in places for highlights.
After applying the frisket, wash the brush thoroughly with some dish detergent.
The light in this painting is coming from the top left.
Make the upper left background darker.
The upper background color gets lighter, as you go to the right side of the painting away from the light source.
This is caused by reflected light.
You may add a bit of yellow on the right side for the warmth of the reflected light.
We paint the flowers before the butterflies because their bodies and legs go over the flowers.
Use a small round brush to roughly lay in the flower colors.
Don't try to paint individual petals.
Use the warmer, reddish violet on the left side of the flower which is towards the light.
Use the bluish violet on the bottom and the right side of the flower away from the light.
Let the colors flow together.
Vary the intensity of the colors by using more or less water.
Use variations of light and dark violets.
Leave white spaces for sparkle.
Mix blue and yellow on your palette for your green to paint the calyx, sepals and stems.
Notice the calyx color is darker on the bottom side which is shadowed.
Add a tiny bit of blue under the edge of the petals for a shadow.
You may want to paint the leaves in more detail.
I saved my detail for the butterflies and the flowers.
Mix dark and light greens the way you did for the green parts of the flowers.
The leaves toward the light will have more yellow.
Paint the shadow side of the leaves and stems a darker green, mixed with more blue.
Remove the masking from the butterfly wings.
You may use a dry finger to rub off the masking. The masking is rubber cement and it easily comes off.
Or use a Pick-Up Rubber Cement Eraser, as in the photo.
When you are painting butterflies keep in mind that butterflies actually have four wings.
Shade the butterfly's wings before painting the veins.
Mix lavender grey with yellow and red-violet.
The warm yellow brings bottom wing forward of the lavender grey wing behind it.
You may use any small, round brush or even a liner brush for painting butterfly veins.
If you make a wiggle-wobble or fat veins, use a damp brush to pick up the extra paint before it dries.
I forgot to shade the wings before painting veins. So after the veins dried, I went back and did the shading.
Butterflies have three body parts.
They have a head with two antenna, a thorax with six legs and four wings attached to the thorax and an abdomen.
The butterfly's legs go out over the flower petals because the butterfly is standing on the flower.
Look around your butterfly painting and see what you might want to touch up.
Values are what really make a painting sparkle!
Do it whatever suits your taste. You have an artist's license for painting butterflies.
two paintings will ever look the same. Every painting is an individual.
Every individual artist will do their paintings in their own manner.