Thursday, August 14, 2014

Art: Put Reality Into Your Paintings



These butterflies are real!  Oh yes, they are.  Because I love the butterfly so much, when someone finds one they give them to me.  Sometimes they are whole and sometimes not.  But they are always lifeless.  What better way to bring them back to life and give them another chance to grace us with their beauty, than to put them in a painting true to their surroundings.

This wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.  Although first dissappointed, it became apparent that they were going to need a little touch up.

I began by painting in the background on my canvas using acrylic paint and then painted the flowers and the grass.

Using an exacto knife and tweezers the wings were removed from the body.  Afraid the delicate wings wouldn’t take much moving around, I used the knife and tweezers to place them in different positions on the canvas to decide where they would be most appealing.  Using Plaid Matte Mod Podge with water mixed in it, I applied it to the area on the canvas for the first bottom wing.  Carefully moving the wing I placed it on top of the Mod Podge.  It was all more forgiving than I expected, but still working very carefully, I pressed gently with my fingers, then applied a coat of Mod Podge on top of the wing.  Each wing was done this way.  One wing at a time.

There were a few parts missing on the butterflies so I took acrylic paint and painted the missing pieces in.  You can’t really see it.  The right bottom wing on the black butterfly was missing a bit, the yellow butterfly was missing some on the right bottom wing.  The brown butterfly (or moth) was in tack except the body and antenna, I had cut them away on all the butterflies and had to replace them.

The dissappointment came when the Mod Podge had dried, it left the butterfly darker and some of the colors were no longer vivid.  As I began touching up flowers and adding more and adding more grass I decided to try a little watered down paint on the wings to see if it helped them.  Not much was needed.  It was like giving them a drink of water.  Since they accepted paint well, I decided to highlight them and even put some blades of grass and cone flower petals on top of them.

All in all, I’m pretty satisfied with this idea and can’t wait for friends to give me more butterflies.  They would look great on old wood.  I’m thinking they would also be easier to apply to something a bit harder than this stretched canvas.

To finish the piece, paint a coat of Mod Podge on top of the entire canvas being careful not to put too much pressure on the butterfly wings.

You should try this for yourself on a wood board for ease.  Let me know if you do.

Happy Painting