Friday, December 28, 2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Borboleta #10 - "88" Diaethria clymena janeira

I hope everyone has had a peaceful and joyful Christmas shared with family and friends !

I'm back to my butterfly/borboleta paintings, with many thanks to my good friend and amazing photographer Hudson Garcia . Hudson has graciously shared some of his photographs of butterflies with me to use as reference. The next in the series is commonly known as "88" because this number seems to appear as part of the wing pattern. I began by doing a detailed drawing on my watercolor paper. Next, I began wet-in-wet background washes, introducing red in the background to suggest flowers. This borboleta has a beautiful bright red stripe on his wing and I wanted to tie the background to the wing pattern. I also want to bring a nice contrast of color to this mostly black and white butterfly, which you'll see as the painting develops.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas from BRAZIL !

In considering a way to send Christmas greetings to our friends in the U.S. and Germany, and of course, our friends here in Brazil, we decided a collage of my Borboleta paintings would be a fun way to wish everyone a Merry Christmas ! Actually, I began by creating a "sticker" in my Zazzle store and included it as the centerpiece of the collage. 

Brazilian Butterfly Christmas Stickers by KHarvillART
Make unique printed stickers from

Next, I used all nine paintings in the series to create a collage "card". Just a little preview of the paintings that will be featured in my 2013 calendar of "Borboletas do Brasil"/"Butterflies of Brazil" !

I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and peaceful and prosperous New Year !

Friday, December 21, 2012

Borboleta #9 - Complete !

I completed Borboleta #9 yesterday. After posting, with the butterfly in progress, I continued developing the wings and the body, referring often to my reference photos for the correct structure of both body and wings. It is interesting that each butterfly in this species has the orange and pink markings, but usually the placement differs. That's probably how the name "Variable Beautymark" was chosen for this butterfly.
I am still hoping to complete three more paintings before the end of 2012, still hoping to introduce a calendar for 2013 with this series of Brazilian butterflies !

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Borboleta #9 - The Wings Come to Life

After posting yesterday, I continued to bring detail to the leaves in the background. That is, until, as with the others in this series, I felt it was time to stop until the butterfly is painted. So, these are the first washes of the gorgeous blue in the wings of this fascinating creature.

If all goes according to schedule, I will be posting the finished painting tomorrow. Until then, Happy Painting ! And Happy Holidays !

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Borboleta #9 - Rhetus periander eleusinus

#9 in my series of butterfly/borboleta watercolor paintings is a Rhetus periander eleusinus. A beautiful butterfly that my husband, Christoph, photographed on his recent trip to Iguassu. This butterfly is known in English as the Periander Swordtail, Periander Metalmark or Variable Beautymark. I began this with a detailed drawing, referring to other photos as well as my primary reference to be sure that I'm able to render the details of this borboleta correctly. Next, I masked out a few areas with my masking fluid and after that thoroughly dried, began my large and quite dark green background washes. I mix separate small cups of various greens for the process, so as not to run out of my mixtures, as could easily happen on a palette. One mixture contained Phthalo Green and Quinacridone Rose, next is a Permanent Green Light with a touch of Aureolin Yellow, and the third contained Amazonite Genuine. This photo shows the sheen of the still wet paint, the paint is always magical at this stage.

As the larger washes began to dry, I continued working in other background sections of the painting. It's important to keep an eye on an area that is still wet, as the paint is continuing to move and you don't want to tilt the paper in order to work on a new area until your previous areas are starting to set and stabilize. Some happy accidents are welcomed in watercolor, but not all ! In the photo below, the background is beginning to come together and most of the masking has been removed. I'll continue working with the leaf patterns and shapes before moving on to the star of this painting, the borboleta. Further refinements of the background and supporting players will be analyzed once the butterfly itself is painted.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Continuation - Completion of Borboleta #8

I added more layers of transparent watercolor to build up the colors and definition of the leaf, then I used masking fluid on the white areas/spots on the butterfly wings, and layered the first yellow washes in the wings.

I continued building the yellow color in the wings and adding the black, creating a stained-glass window effect in the wing pattern. By working overall, I darkened the area of the leaf below the butterfly, as well as the area just above the head slightly. I added details of light orange and pink to the yellow sections of the wing, and thin dark lines in the wing pattern. The body is visible through the transparent yellow wing. After many small adjustments, I added my signature - complete !

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Borboleta #8 - Initial Washes

It has been some time since my last post. Between my trips to Clarksville, TN for the museum exhibition and preparing for my return trip to Brazil, I've had a few other things on my schedule. But, I'm back in my Brazilian atelier/studio and have begun my next butterfly in the Borboleta series - #8.
I completed a detailed drawing of this lovely creature yesterday and began the initial washes, which I am continuing today.

The group exhibit at Galeria Trombini in Morretes has been postponed until January - not entirely a bad thing as I hope to complete several more paintings in this series before they go on display. More information will be available as I have more details.

Christmas is just two weeks from today ! I hope everyone is enjoying the season wherever you may be on this beautiful planet !

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Botboleta #7 - Complete !

I had planned to work on the borboleta before addressing the leaves again. But, I decided, as interesting as they were, that the green was just a little too bright. So, I added light washes of Rose Madder Genuine to dull down the brightness slightly. Adding any complementary color will act to subdue its opposite on the color wheel. I also added some washes of yellow for warmth. I then added detail to the leaf on the right, incorporating the pink and yellow washes and adding a small bit of red to my green mixture. 

Next, it was time for the borboleta. I worked directly with the large orange areas first, then moving to the blacks, mixed with Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine Blue (never black from a tube). I lightly washed some beige into the white areas, and when all was dry added the small details....and my signature !

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Detailing the leaves - Borboleta #7

Today, I began by fully saturating each leaf, one at a time with clear water, then dropping in my pigment with the wet-in-wet wash technique.

After this dried, I began detailing the leaf on the left. I'll continue with the right leaf in my next painting session, then I'll begin the details on the butterfly/moth. Once the moth is finished, I'll determine any changes to the leaves in color, value, or level of detail. I like to bring the background to a certain point before beginning the central subject matter, but so many things can change once the main subject is close to completion, and the painting as a whole has to work. Every painting brings new challenges....

Also, I ordered one of my "Endangered Species" Zazzle calendars and it arrived today. I'm very pleased with the print quality, so if anyone is still looking for stocking stuffers, this would be perfect for the conservationist or nature lover on your list !

Borboleta #7 - Drawing and initial washes

It has been a while since I posted, life has a way of putting other events in one's path. One of those events was the opening membership reception of my exhibition, "The Passion of Kitty Harvill" at the Customs House Museum in Clarksville, TN, my hometown. My goddaughter Jane Ross accompanied me on the trip from Little Rock to Clarksville, and we had a great time together. Here she is documenting the exhibit. She also took some great photos of the ducks and geese at Dunbar Cave - of course we had to have a nature excursion !

Now on to the Butterfly, #7 in the series. Actually, I think it may be a moth, I'll need to check the identification, as always, with my specialist in Brazil. I had begun the drawing before our trip, but only completed it tonight and began the initial washes of dark green to give depth to the lighter, and brighter leaves that will be in the foreground.

As we have a long weekend ahead, I hope to make quite a bit of progress, and hopefully complete this painting before I leave on Monday to return to Clarksville and the museum where I'll be giving a presentation about my work, both paintings and book illustrations, as well as the conservation issues I'm involved with in Brazil. If you are in the Clarksville area, please join us Tuesday, November 27, 7- 8:30 pm, with a book signing following the presentation.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Morpho - Complete & Signed !

It's official, the signature is there ! I did go back into the blue of the wings on the right side with my watercolor, softening some hard edges. After that was dry, I decided to add the irridescent pale blue pastel. It shows somewhat in the photograph, but to see the original, it really sparkles, just as these beauties do as they fly through the forest - a blue jewel, or "joia azul" in flight. Beautiful inhabitants of the Atlantic Rainforest !

The final painting and a detail -

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Morpho - Butterfly/Borboleta #6 - Complete ?

I think I've finished this latest painting. But, I'll wait to view it with fresh eyes tomorrow. I began today by detailing the Morpho itself. Once that was complete, it appeared she was perched atop the leaves and I didn't feel enough connection with the subject and the background, so I went into the upper left quadrant with some darker and also warmer washes to echo the warm dark passages in the wings. Once those washes were dry, I added just a bit of definition around the leaves. Since you don't see a signature yet, I'm not completely sure it's finished, but if not, then it's close. One thing I considered and may still do is to add some irridescent blue pastel on the wings. I'm not sure if that would make a difference for anyone viewing an online or print version, but it would make a striking, yet subtle detail in the original. I still need to consider that. Comments ?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Developing Butterfly/Borboleta #6 - the Morpho

I've been developing the background for the Butterfly/Borboleta #6 painting - the Morpho. I'm including two photos to show you the process of this development. You can see in the second stage that I've added some blue to connect with the blue that will be in the wings of the Morpho and in both you can see the introduction of orange to act as a complement to heighten the impact of the blue in the Morpho's wings. The pale yellow you see in the Morpho's wings is masking fluid to preserve the whites. I used masking fluid to preserve the small white spots on the wings, so that I can paint the wings more freely. I always use masking fluid sparingly, and if possible, I avoid it.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Borboleta #6 / Underpainting

I've begun #6 in my series of butterfly paintings. This is one of the 80 species of Morpho, actually not really considered a butterfly, but in a class of their own. I began the initial washes with a light and delicate touch. The previous painting I began with very dark washes and went in and lifted and manipulated the washes with subsequent glazes or washes. I wanted to approach this one a little differently, more like the painting of the Ruby-spotted Swallowtail below -

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Butterfly/Borboleta Painting Completed - Heliconius ethilla narcaea

It has been a rather productive weekend for KHarvill ART. I completed the butterfly painting, working very detailed to contrast with the more loose and abstract background. I found that I only had to make a few adjustments to the background. Please leave your comments and let me know what you think !
This makes #5 in the series. I hope to have 12 before the end of the year for a calendar.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Background for Butterfly Painting

The background for this painting has become a little more complicated than I anticipated. I was happily painting along, really enjoying the process, when I realized I had become a little too involved with my fantasy fern-like shapes. So, I went back in with some dark washes in an effort to unify the piece. I plan for the butterfly itself to be rather detailed, so I don't want the background to compete with it, either in terms of busyness, or in the level of detail. I feel it's at a good point now to stop and have a fresh look tomorrow, and work on the butterfly shapes before I go back into the background. I'm quite sure with the butterfly painted, the background will more or less indicate any further work it may need. My goal with this painting, and many of my paintings that focus on a specific subject such as this butterfly, its to leave the background somewhat abstract and painterly while bringing realistic detail to the subject itself. We'll see what the next painting session brings !

Friday, October 26, 2012

New Painting & Museum Exhibit

It's been a busy week at KHarvill ART. I've prepared 17 of my paintings for transport to the Customs House Museum in Clarksville, TN, my hometown. The exhibit "The Passion of Kitty Harvill" will be on display from Nov 2 - Jan 14, 2013. If you are in the middle Tennessee area, please stop by and visit the museum. The curator Terri Jordan has created a stunning banner for the event. 
Meanwhile, I've been busy continuing with my Butterfly/borboleta series. I've begun #5 in the series, having completed the pencil drawing and initial background washes.

I hope to make progress with this painting this weekend, it's off to a good start !

And, of course, I've been busy with my Zazzle store, creating more products for dog lovers and mug and teapot sets featuring my nature art - water lily, fern, Ruby-spotted swallowtail butterfly and Brazilian hummingbird. Please visit my store at

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Welcome to 52 Weeks of ART !

Welcome to 52 Weeks of ART ! Inspired by my experience in 2009 of drawing or painting each day of the year, that's right 365 days. Modifying the artist Harley Brown's oath to draw from life for 30 minutes a day for the rest of your life, I worked not only from life but my own photography of my wildlife and nature subjects. Nothing has improved my artwork as much as this experience, and few things have been as demanding - every day, whether sick, traveling, it didn't matter, I was drawing or painting every single day of that year.
It keeps one accountable, and although I may take a day off here and there, I plan to post several days a week with photos of my work in progress. This will also give insight into my technique and working process. I invite you to be a part of my visual diary.

Browse other gifts from Zazzle.