Monday, June 14, 2010

Broken butterfly

The weekend was very hot and windy, an unsettling combination around these parts. One afternoon I walked downtown for an iced latte and on the way home I found a tiny, tattered, dead butterfly on the sidewalk at a busy intersection. I cupped it carefully in my hand and brought it home so I could draw it and discover what kind of butterfly it was. I was pleased that my sketches made it quite easy to identify, using Butterflies through Binoculars: The West by Jeffrey Glassberg, as Mylitta Crescent or Phyciodes mylitta, a fairly common butterfly of the western United States and Mexico. The length of the butterfly's body was 13 mm or 1/2 inch.


When I checked into flickr this morning I was delighted to see that, in southwest Florida, Elizabeth Smith had also painted a butterfly that she found, a Gulf fritillary.

I've been working out how to sketch with color when I'm out in the field. Having spent most of my life in a studio this has been an amazingly complex problem to solve! I sketched the underside of the butterfly with watercolor and the upperside with colored pencil. I liked both media for this project. The watercolor went on faster but is harder for me to work with quickly as it's been a difficult medium for me. The colored pencils were a bit slower but are easier for me to work with when I'm not in my comfort zone. I'm also looking forward to experimenting with using both together.

3 comments:

  1. What lovely drawings these are! Hard to believe you've had difficulty with any medium, but interesting to hear your plans for combining wet and dry colours.

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  2. Really beautiful drawings, again with such texture and detail. I do enjoy the research you do into all your subjects Debbie - loved the damselfly post too!

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  3. I can imagine holding this fragile insect in my own hands because you've made such a beautiful, sensitive drawing with such velvety texture, Debbie. Like Cathy, I really appreciate that yours is a journey of knowledge as well as beauty.

    And yes, most interested in your thoughts on combining wet and dry mediums.

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