Holly Blue

Today's sneak peek is a painting of a holly blue butterfly I'm working on. I'm hoping it'll be a greetings card before too long!

The hardest part is always staring a blank white sheet of paper, so once an outline is in place I always feel better. I've pre-stretched my watercolour paper to prevent buckling and left it taped to a board. This means that when I put it aside, it will stay completely flat and my colours won't dribble or pool in any direction. I've lightly marked in the main areas in pencil The yellowish outline is art masking fluid, which will protect the pure white areas of the painting until I'm finished with colour.

I've started washing some diluted watercolour into the wet background to create the impression of foliage. This will be built up more, once I've decided on my core colours. I usually do a little swatch of what I have available, as you can see below, and then I can test them with others and see which colour path I want to follow.

While the paint is wet I use a cloth to lift out any colour that is too prominent. Each layer is left to dry before more colour is added, to prevent all of my colours turning to brown.

After some more watercolours, some ProMarkers and some Edding pen I've used good quality Indian ink and a small paintbrush to work on the darkest areas. I've softened some of the background lines using a little gesso. You can see how well the masking fluid has done its job, and I'll probably use a good quality white gel pen for cleaning up edges and highlights if I feel it's needed.

A little more to do, and she'll be finished.

I hope you like her!

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