After a brief break from painting, I'm back at it. I decided I liked the first butterfly painting I did so much, that I'd try it again so that I could hang a pair up on my wall.
I googled "butterfly on a flower" again and waded through the images. This time I wanted one that was facing the opposite direction. I also wanted one that had a nice contrast of colors. I picked the above photo. Then I sketched it out onto my watercolor paper.
After I had the sketch, I wetted my paper down to do my background. I did not wet the flowers or the butterfly on my first pass. Then I watered down some green (and a little brown) and yellow paints and got started blotting it on. In the original photo there are these almost purple/brown fern-like leaves in the background, but try as I might, I couldn't get that to look right. I mixed up more green paint to go over it. I also blotted off areas that I didn't care for with a napkin and then painted green over it. When I was mostly done with the background, I put some yellow onto my flowers as a base color.
Next I layered on greens for the stems and darker shades of yellow to add dimension to the petals on the flowers. I started out with a much more orange shade of yellow than I should have. I didn't have a lemon yellow at the time, so I made do. Then I filled in the butterfly with blue and black to get a base color started.
I continued to layer on my colors in the background and on the butterfly. Trying to paint dark colors with watercolor paints is a bit tricky. So the butterfly starts to look kind of weird from this point on. I was a bit discouraged, but I kept going.
As I finished up the detail work with the black and blue, I also added in white to fill in the highlights. It started looking more like the photo, so I kept going with the highlights and added them to the petals on the flower too.
I really hated this one until I was almost completely finished with it. The detail work made a huge difference.
In the end, it turned out to be a fitting pair for my other butterfly painting.