Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Day 18 and 19, More Butterflies, Travels and moving on to Doodling

I've been away for a few days visiting the beautiful gardens and galleries of Oxford and Bath. Not much achieved  for the challenge other than two more butterflies on the vellum sheet. This time a Peacock and a Camberwell Beauty. 

The view through the magnifier. Working on a Peacock and the beginnings of a Red Admiral below, above is the Swallowtail completed some weeks ago. I always work with an illuminated magnifier lamp and wouldn't be able to see in enough detail with out it!

The finished Peacock, Aglais io, I have painted one before but that was a darker form. This one isn't as bright as most but is the only subject that I have. Scarlet Lake and Indian yellow were included and also some of the iridescent Daniel Smith colours on the shiny blue spots.

The Campbewell Beauty, Nymphalis antiopa. A rare migrant to Britain. So named because it was found in Campberwell. I wasn't going to include this butterfly initially because it's so rare here but decided that it is a good addition to the sheet after all. In the US it's known as the Mourning Cloak. To find out more about this species check out the UK Butterflies site
The four completed butterflies. I'm hoping to end up with around 20 species on this piece of vellum,and hope to produce it as a limited edition print eventually.
While away I was lucky enough to visit the Ashmolean Museum, where I saw the Great British Drawings exhibition. Seeing work by Ruskin made my day, especially his Kingfisher feathers,  a  tiny still life by William Henry Hunt is also stunning! see below.
The Ruskin teaching resources are online on the website - so well worth a look for any self respecting painter of  nature!

Ruskin's Kingfisher, the painting of the three feathers is from this same bird.Copyright Wikimedia Commons

A beautiful little still life of Peach and Grapes by William Henry Hunt, Watercolour and bodycolour over graphite on paper. Nobody paints bloom like Hunt! This work belonged to Ruskin and features in his teaching materials. Hunt paintings feature fruits, shells, flowers and of course his best known work...the birds nests! Copyright, Ashmolean

There's also the wonderful Dutch still life room...... Sigh!  In which there are a number of oils on copper plate by Jan van Kessel, also work by Rachel Ruysch....beautiful stuff!
Jan van Kessel's Insects, oil on copper plate. A number of his works are on show at the Ashmolean Copyright Wikimadia Commons, Public Domain
Upon returning home I was feeling inspired and the pencils were out immediately! Following on from my previous post I  decided to start a large sprawling graphite 'doodle'. Very little planning was involved, other than having the plants at hand and a rough layout is in my head! so I sketched out a few of the subjects and will add as I go. So this piece will fill the remaining days of the Challenge it may or may not work..... I'll share this in my next post.


  1. Your butterflies are gorgeous and will make a fantastic print. Thanks for sharing the highlights of your museum visit. I am an admirer of Ruskin so enjoyed hearing more about him and his teaching materials.

    1. Thank you Janene, have you seen the online resources at the Ashmolean, well worth a look!