Monday, January 28, 2013

Borboleta Series Complete

My series of butterfly paintings is least for the moment ! And I'll be able to create my 2013 calendar before the end of this month. A little late, I know, but I was determined to meet this personal goal. And there is always a possibility of a 2014 calendar, perhaps even with new images ! But, for the moment, I'll be exploring new subject matter - that of the Reserva Bicudinho-do-brejo or Lagoa do Parado, but more about that later. I'm also posting the final painting in the series (below) and want to make a few comments about it.

I chose this image as a final painting in the series because I wanted to give myself freedom, to explore the graphic qualities in this close-up view of an Owl butterfly wing. But I found myself being ever more attracted to the overwhelming detail ! So, rather than being loose and free and expressive, I felt compelled to scrutinize every little detail to give my viewer a true sense of the beauty and intricacy of a butterfly wing. Much like Georgia O'Keefe (one of my favorites since college), I wanted to make my viewers really look, just as she wanted people to really look at a flower. Because when you really look at the beauty and intricacy of the nature all around us every day, you cannot help but be filled with awe....and with joy - and that is precisely what I wish to bring to my viewers.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Borboleta #12 - Owl Butterfly Progress

I continued this painting by extending the gold and black graphic area in the upper left section. Most of the masking is still in place for the veins and the highlights in the upper corner.
I continued refining this area of the paintng, extending the gold band to the bottom of the painting and adding details. I also began the initial washes in the lower left of the painting.
Next, I began working in the lower left quadrant, first re-wetting my paper that already had light washes to indicate shadow and soft color areas. While the paper was still wet, but beginning to dry slightly, I began adding the black designs. I didn't draw the designs first, I referred to my photograph often, but was painting my impression of this section of the wing design, not copying the photo reference I was using.
And again, thank you Hudson Garcia,
And tomorrow, the completed painting !  

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Borboleta #12 - Owl Butterfly (close-up)

I've begun my final painting in this series of Borboleta/Butterfly paintings. As a Grand Finale, I've decided to challenge myself with a close-up of the wing of an Owl butterfly. There are many species of Owl butterflies belonging to the genus Caligo, and I'm quite sure this is a Caligo martia. You can read more about them here :

This is another image provided by my friend Hudson Garcia, you can view Hudson's wonderful photography of Brazilian wildlife at

I began, as always with a pencil drawing of my subject, then used masking fluid on the white area and on the veins. The wings of a butterfly are supported and nourished by small tubular veins that also function in oxygen exchange or "breathing". (At the point you see above, I've removed the masking from the central "eye" area but it remains on the veins.) After I allowed time for the masking fluid to dry, I saturated the right side of the painting and began dropping wet washes onto this wet surface to get a very soft effect. As the paper began to dry, I continued working in this section with less moisture in my brush, so that the brushstrokes were still soft but had more definition. I love the way the black and gold areas look like some type of ancient design or hieroglyphics.

The owl "eye" design is used by the butterfly as protection against predators. I happened to see a very interesting display of its effect only a few weeks ago when we were at Santuário Nhundiaquara in Morretes and an Owl butterfly landed on a hanging basket filled with fruit, primarily bananas for the birds. The birds, a mix of tanagers and hummingbirds became extremely nervous by its presence and would actually rush the butterfly in attempts to make it leave. They would no longer feed as long as the butterfly was there.

You can see in the following photo, the hummingbird on the left is making his presence known. None of the birds actually attacked the butterfly, but it was clear they certainly wanted him to leave.

And the birds do also argue among themselves as well !


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Borboleta #11 - "Clearwing" (Episcada hymenaea) Complete !

Today marks the completion of my 11th butterfly in the series. I am fascinated with the transparency of the wings of this butterfly, and think I have successfully suggested the red of the plant behind the lower wing. I added some bue-gray washes in the mosaic portions of the wings to give a feeling of translucency of the wing, rather than a complete transparency. Once again my thanks to Hudson Garcia,, without his amazing photography, I wouldn't have had the reference material for this painting.

I've also created my first Squidoo lens - Love Birds for Bird Lovers :
I must say it was quite a creative process as well ! I've included numerous products, my own and those of other talented Zazzle artists, designers and photographers. Items include my "Love" stamp :

Perfect for all your Valentine greetings, with a matching greeting card, coffee mug and ornament !

So, now on to my final Borboleta in the series (at least for now). I'll be posting about my progress !

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Borboleta #11 - Developing the Painting

I decided today to develop the interesting red plant and the butterfly simultaneously. Moving back and forth between the two. The challenge is to maintain a glass-like effect in the wings. The masking fluid was effective in allowing consistency in the background washes, and very little, if anything still seems to be needed in that area. Of course, that may change as the painting continues to develop and I may decide to add some veining to the leaf on the left, careful not to add too much detail and bring it forward in the painting.

As interesting as the butterfly is, the red plant is equally interesting and I will need to keep them connected so they don't compete for the center of interest, but are viewed as a visual unity.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Borboleta #11 - Clearwing (Episcada hymenaea)

As the name "Clearwing" suggests, this is a very interesting butterfly with transparent wings, reminding me of a mosaic or a stained glass window. To achieve this effect, after completing a detailed drawing on my watercolor paper, I masked out the positive areas of the wing pattern, so that I could wet my paper across the wing, and so carry the background through without interruption. I think there is a nice movement established in the wet-in-wet background.

The butterfly is perched on a very bright reddish-pink plant. I'll need to check in with my favorite botanist for its identification. My next step will be to establish the colors in this plant before moving on to the details of the butterfly.

I'm also happy to announce that I've reached ProSeller status in my Zazzle store :

Please take a moment to visit at KHarvill ART's Zazzle Store. You'll find more than 700 products embellished with my art, including my butterfly paintings, bird and wildlife art.

Once again, my thanks to Hudson Garcia for sharing his photography of this butterfly for use as reference for my painting. You can view Hudson's wildlife photography of Brazil at

Monday, January 14, 2013

Borboleta #10 - "88" Complete !

This may be my second blog entry of the year, but it's my first completed painting of 2013 ! As I contemplate this work, begun in 2012, I have to consider the symbolic meaning of the "88". I wonder what our Creator had in mind with this design. What occurs to me is that perhaps it marks a countdown of paintings for 2013. And if that's the case, then I better get busy - very busy !

My blog entry of Dec 27 shows the initial stages of this painting with the underpainting, or actually the background, since I chose not to go back into it for more detail.

I think the loose and abstract quality of the background pushes it back and brings the butterfly to the foreground more dramatically. Every painting is a matter of push-and-pull, decision-making along the way. As far as showing the developing stages, I became so involved with the piece that I didn't stop to document the sequence. I began with the foreground leaves, then added some light gray washes to the wing, letting that dry before beginning the more detailed work of the butterfly itself. Never using black from the tube, I used a combination of Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna, a favorite mixture of my mother's also. The final details were the head, legs and antennae.

I want to mention again my thanks to photographer Hudson Garcia for the use of his photography as reference. Please take a moment to view his fantastic photography of Brazil's wildlife at

Thursday, January 10, 2013

RAÌZES E ASAS/Roots and Wings

My first blog entry of 2013 is to announce that seven of my butterfly paintings are part of a group exhibt with artists Daniel Conrade and Isaurina Maria - Sarika at Galeria de Arte Mirtillo Trombini in Morretes, Brazil, now until Feb 17.

My thanks to Daniel Conrade for the great design of this announcement. I will be continuing with my butterfly paintings, although I didn't make my deadline of twelve by the end of 2012, I've set a new deadline of the end of January. Hopefully, I can make that and still create my "Borboletas do Brasil" calendar for 2013, if not, then I guess it will have to be a calendar for 2014 !

We were in our wonderful area of the Atlantic Rainforest from New Year's Day until January 5, and I've added twelve photos to my KHarvill ART Facebook album "A Weekend in 'our' Forest", it can be viewed at the following link :

A Weekend in "our" Forest
Facebook Business/Fan Pages are public, you don't have to be on Facebook to view my album. So, enjoy !

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