Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Flutter By

Up here in the Colorado high country, the butterflies are out in force. Maybe that's because it's also been another stellar summer for wildflowers. As a botanical illustrator, I often incorporate butterflies, moths, and other flying pollinators in my work. So today I'll share an older print that I made and hand colored (watercolor) for a pollinators show at the Denver Botanic Gardens. This one is a moth, though often mistaken for a butterfly. Its common name is the Madagascan Sunset Moth. Since this piece was a print, I had several uncolored ones and used one to tangle around. I love the process of creating. So I'm showing you the intaglio print plain, the intaglio print painted, and the intaglio print "tangled" and painted. Actually, I also used colored pencil on this final to build the layers; so it's really a multimedia piece.
The 'tangled" Sunset Moth, tinted with watercolor, colored pencil, and a delicate wash of gold that you can't see on the screen. It makes the wings shimmer. I used a variety of Copic pen sizes for the tangles and graphite for shading.

This is the intaglio print that I used as a background for the Botangle.

The colored (watercolor) intaglio print of the above.
A trip to see my dear friend in Florida inspired me to create this piece. We visited the butterfly pavilion on a "girl's weekend" in Key West. It was magical. Thus, the key in the illustration. The background consists of bathymetric contour lines (I traced and quality controlled myself years ago at work.) Bathymetry is the topography of the ocean. I loved doing this work for the scientist who was mapping the Seychelles Islands ocean floor. I knew I'd find an artistic use for it someday! I love how the contour lines of the background make for the perfect  "string" in the Zentangle technique. Please note the use of negative space.

I also did a piece for a show at the Broomfield Butterfly Pavilion that I tinted with colored pencil. This time I tangled the inside of the butterfly.

I hope these and those gorgeous real butterflies in your area inspire you to try tangling with a similar motiv. Enjoy the summer!

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