View Full Version : Butterfly WIP

08-22-2004, 10:45 AM
This is something my art teacher gave me as a project to do over summer holiday because I happened to mention that I donít like doing flowers..........well I got just over a week till the new term starts and I have only just started........your thoughts about it so far would be a great help.......I am a bit worried about the composition as the flower seems to be bang smack in middle but the butterfly is slightly to the right and for me she is the focal point.

Thanks for looking :D

08-22-2004, 11:24 AM
I think your composition is fine if you are working with golden mean points. She is closer to the top right hand point than the flower is to any other so that is a good thing. Yellow will tend to grab the focus in a painting so you might want to tone that down some and make the value darker than the butterfly which should appear luminous.

I like what you have so far!! Pulling up a chair to watch.. Get busy your deadline looms!!!

Ok, I decided to crop it in photoshop on the top and right hand side some ensuring placement closer to the mean point... sorry I'm such a visual person I always doubt how I explain myself verbally...


Chooky :D:D

08-22-2004, 11:45 AM
You're off to a great start Lori.

K Taylor-Green
08-22-2004, 11:52 AM
Great start on this, Lori. Your instructor won't know that you didn't slave over it all summer!! :evil:

08-22-2004, 12:38 PM
Thanks Kate and Judy hope to have it finished in the next few days.........

Chooky thanks I like the way you cropped it think I might go with that plus tone the yellows down a bit thatís if I can they are such lovely yellows.........

08-22-2004, 12:50 PM
Yep- the yellows are lovely- and they will draw the eye for two reasons: 1st- the chroma (intensity of hue) is stronger than that of the butterfly's, and 2nd- the human eye is drawn to flowers automatically- it's a survival trait from way back- flowers mean food sooner or later. If you faithfully copy that photo, there is no way, even placed in the golden mean, the butterfly will be a center of interest.

Soooo.... here's a trick. I took your ref photo into psp and masked the butterfly, and gave all his colours a huge boost. This way, as you can see, the wings become a lavenderish colour, rather than dull white, and the reflected yellows and oranges on his body stand out for you. Now, with him in the golden mean, that flower won't be as powerful either colour-wise, or psychologically. Plus, orange-yellow and purple are complements- and that's a powerful combination.


08-22-2004, 01:15 PM
You've received some great advice so far and I'd just keep going. I like the idea of a summer project - it keeps you thinking all the time.


08-22-2004, 05:33 PM
Thanks Barb that has helped me out no end I really appreciate it and all the help and encouragement given by everyone...........

This site will push be to keep on trying and hopefully it will start to show in my work a BIG thanks to you all.. :D :D

08-22-2004, 07:03 PM
This is going to be gorgeous....just have faith in yourself! You're already well on your way!

08-22-2004, 07:13 PM
Sorry SweetBaby last post should have thanked you for advise.........ok heres lastest update have tried what SweetBaby suggested but think I have turned it more of a dirtly colour :( :mad:

Not the best of photos was taken in wrong light but hope it will give you a rough idea think I might need lots of help with this one..........how can I turn it from looking dirty to nice and bright helpppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


08-22-2004, 08:07 PM
I don't know what surface you are using, but try to brush off the colour areas you don't like- a watercolour brush works well, and some folks use a stiffer bristle brush. I've also brushed, and then used a CLEAN kneadable eraser- just press and lift, over and over. And if that doesn't work- well, start over- it's okay to do that, especially if you're using paper like Canson which doesn't take much, anyway.

It's going to come along fine- try letting the pastels blend themselves rather than using your fingers.

08-23-2004, 05:00 AM
Thanks again SweetBaby dont know what I would do without you lol.........you helped me out a bunch on my gold fish I did as well. :D

Its Ingres paper and using pastel pencils so not quite as easy to remove :(

Keep saying this but I do love this site :clap:

08-23-2004, 12:48 PM
Ok heres my lastest update think I'm getting there.........if you can see anything that needs changing please let me know as all c&c's welcome.

Thanks for looking :D


08-23-2004, 01:46 PM
This is lovely, but I'm wondering about that white, too. What is the background going to be like? If it's going to be dark enough, the white MIGHT be okay, but I'd like a little color of some kinda ghosted on there, just a smidge to keep it from looking chalky? But it might pop okay on the right background. Your drawing is great and it'll be beautiful in any case, this is just my personal prejudice against too much flat white in a pastel painting, I think.

08-23-2004, 02:07 PM
Thanks Sooz there is a bit of lilac over the white wings but maybe I should put a bit more on.........background will be quite dark.

When my teacher gave me this I took a look and thought this shouldnt be too hard ha ha ha will never think that again lol

08-23-2004, 02:14 PM
It may be hard work to you but you sure make it look beautiful!!! Keep going and thanks for sharing it with us. I'm going to grab some popcorn and sit in the backrow and watch now... Barb

08-23-2004, 02:15 PM
Lori, I know you're using pencils, so if you have a blue and a dark pink, use those in place of the lavender- the white is overpowering the lavender, washing it out. Put some dark blue and purple in the brown spots- it's okay- it may read oddly while you're working on it, but step back and you'll see it works.

You can use all those same colours in your background with this caveat: Around the butterfly, keep it darker and more reddish-orange, and around the flower, keep it lighter and NO purples or blues. That way, the butterfly will *pop*, and the flower will be there, but not so stand-outish.

08-23-2004, 02:29 PM
Thanks Barb its great to get so much help and encouragement.........

SweetBabes thanks alot what would I do without you lol, I feel you been standing behind me the whole way offering advise when I need it..........ok maybe a stupid question now but what colours would work best around the flower to keep it lighter :D

08-23-2004, 02:41 PM
The background colours that are there are fine- just watch how you place them. Keep the blues and purples up near and around the butterfly, and the greens (lean 'em a bit to yellow/ochre) around the flower. Be careful not to get too many really dark values around the whole outer edge like a "frame" as then it looks like that- a frame.

You know what you need to buy yourself? A WHOLE HUGE FULL SET of NuPastels. NuPastels are not "good" pastels- they aren't made with pure pigments handrolled between the thighs of milkmaids or whatever, there are some lightfastness issues, and they aren't wonderfully soft and vibrant. But they ARE: 1) Inexpensive- a whole set of 96 colours is about $50.00 'Merikan 2) Hard- so you can break 'em and get good clean edges, use them on their sides for large area coverage, and incidentally use them to tone other papers 3) Have such a HUGE variety of colours and tones you will be able to learn a whole lot about colour so you know what to start buying in open-stock when you get to the point you're ready to expand your pastel collection. Plus, for you, 4) They're a good transition between the pencils and "real" pastels.

Here's a link- ask for an early Christmas gift of 'em, and then in November, when it's been forgotten, tell Santa you want a gift certificate for some Unisons or Schminckes.... :D


(Jerry's may have them cheaper, as might EBay- you never know).

08-23-2004, 02:56 PM
Thanks again SweetBaby

08-23-2004, 06:05 PM
Right the butterfly and flower are done I think still got to work on background.......need to change whats there so far as its to green :( :(


08-24-2004, 12:14 AM
This has been so cool to watch the progress on...I am anticipating the final product...I'm sure you'll get a fabulous grade on it!

08-24-2004, 04:42 AM
Thanks Cori :)

08-24-2004, 05:43 AM
This is lovely. Very delicate.
Keep an eye on the darks......they might need darkening.

08-24-2004, 05:59 AM
Thankyou soap

08-24-2004, 03:02 PM
Ok think I'm gonna call this one done as its driving me round the twist, not turned out at all the way I wanted might have been easier to have the flower as focal point :(

Thanks anyway for all your help


08-25-2004, 10:26 AM
Well been looking at it on and off all day and really wasnít at all happy so I have tweaked with it a bit and I think its better...........be happy to know what you all think :D

Thanks for taking a look


08-25-2004, 08:13 PM
Firstly, may I say what a wonderful thread this has been.
I rated it 5 star, something I don't do very often.
A tread like this is very important, as it is great for readers to learn from the questions and answers flying backwards and forwards.

These type of Posts soon become great teaching Aids.
By the way, did I tell you all that I just LOVE Butterflies.

Lovely piece of work, with some GREAT advice.

;) ;)

08-25-2004, 09:12 PM
Lori, you did a beautiful job on this...you did really well with the suggestions and the results are wonderful...have you checked in the library for the toning backgrounds class from last month? It would have worked wonderfully as a background for this and quite easy to do...I'm sure your teacher will be very pleased with this, as should you. Joe's right...we forget to rate these great learning threads..I'll vote too. :)

08-26-2004, 04:34 AM
Dyin thanks alot, yes did find thread for toning backgrounds but not till after I had finished oh well never mind :D

Joe thank you very much I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed doing headaches and all lol :D :D

08-26-2004, 02:49 PM
Other than the hard line separating the background colours, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this- you've increased your colour chromas, your values are pretty good, and you've definately made the butterfly the center of interest. Good job. You should be pleased, as I think your teacher will be, too.

Two ibuprofen and a glass of beverage of your choice- alcohol optional- for the headache... lol

08-26-2004, 03:06 PM
Thank you SweetBaby yeah I kept trying to blend the 2 colours but I just ended up with a dirty looking line instead :(

Thanks for all your help with this.

08-27-2004, 11:00 AM
Have tried to blend the two background colours together a bit more not sure if this has improved it at all but this is the finished piece I will now lay this one to rest. :D