#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.