Well, this one has taken its time to get here. I thought it would be an easy one, but in the end it wasn’t… but what it has brought with it, was a happy serendipity that ticks a lot of boxes for me. I shall be interested to see what others think of this one… it’s different for me, but I do love different things.
The painting I am talking about I have named “Chasing the dream” as although its about the butterflies within it, they are actually heading off to the dream aspect that is depicted in the background. I wanted the background to be simple and not about anything specific like flowers, or a scene, or a landscape with the butterflies flying through it. The painting is about the concept of finding your dreams and chasing after them, the beautiful butterflies are the symbols of that notion.
I wanted to find the most beautiful butterfly shape I could find and after a lot of searching settled on Swallowtails, as they are so distinctive and pretty. After drawing out the shapes of the ones I wanted I blocked in the basic colours of reds and purples, then left the butterflies to do the background itself, adding as and where I felt it needed the colours. When I was happy with that, I went back to the butterflies, put some loud rock music on, and went with the artistic flow to leave some of the scarlets and purples to show through, painting over them in a lace type effect to let the basic colours show through, but knowing the tones of the contrasting greens and turquoises would electrify the colours above and give a real exciting depth to the butterflies that made them pulsate with life and life force. The effects made them look really exciting to look at as the viewer and paint as the artist!
Since I wanted the background to harmonize with the butterflies, but be a fresh pale minty green I used the same turquoise paint as the butterflies were painted in, with some pale yellow and lots of white. After I had done the plain turquoise base colour, and painted down the sides of the box canvas, I then added the same pink as the butterflies, mixed with some of the turquoise, and some of the darker teal colour, and hints of pale peach using various techniques to make the marks, spraying the paint, merging the paint with palette knife, scrapping it on with a bamboo marker, and then painting it to add to the feeling of movement by painting select parts to join them up and letting the eye follow through the gentle swirls of the cloud like effects to connect the butterflies and the eye through the painting. I wanted it to be as subtle as it could be, but not a flat background.
There are some really lovely aspects that I didn’t plan, when I started the painting, but have formed as I’ve created it, and those effects are always more magical than a flat “I know exactly what this will turn out as” style! I find the butterflies fascinating to look at, as my eyes rove over them, and love the way they are all a bit different to each other!