Butterflies and Chocolate
Stepping from 4֯ F outside into a 75 ֯ F conservatory filled with flowering plants and fluttering butterflies is a wonderful treat on a winter day. I met up with two artist friends at Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory for an afternoon of sketching, followed by a visit to Richardson’s Candy Kitchen in South Deerfield, Massachusetts. What a winning combination: friends, art, butterflies, and chocolate.
Painting in the conservatory was more overwhelming than I had imagined. Butterflies were everywhere, in nearly constant motion, and the place was crowded with visitors. Although the butterflies themselves were the main attraction, I found a case of chrysalises tucked in a quiet corner to be equally remarkable. Later, I decided to work on a beautiful flowering tree, knowing that it would hold still and, eventually, something would land there.
Tips and Techniques– When painting butterflies, establish the shape in pencil or pen and lay in a first wash of the lightest colors. You can also do this first step without pencil, simply brushing in a loose wash to establish the wing shape. Once this layer is dry, pencil in the pattern and paint a second layer over the first. Fine details come last, with paint or pen or both. You can spend many hours painting a single butterfly with great accuracy and detail or work more quickly for a sketchier feel. It’s best to decide which direction you’re going it at the outset.