Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Dragonfly Days

Dragonflies are magical!  Mosquitoes bite, bees and wasp sting, flies are just disgusting; but there is just something magical about dragonflies.

Dragonflies were some of the first winged insects to evolve over 300 million years ago.  Modern dragonflies have wingspans of only two to five inches, but fossil dragonflies have been found with wingspans of up to 2 feet.   Dragonflies are expert flies and can fly straight up and down and hover.  Their flight is so special that it has inspired engineers who dream of making robots that fly like dragonflies.

The interesting wings of the dragonfly will be the challenging aspect of our painting.

Let's get started!

Supplies Needed:
Watercolor paper (type and size of your choice)  -I used an 11" x 15" 140# paper
Brushes: round (size of your choice based on the size of your paper)
  • Alizarin Crimson
  • Cadmium Yellow Light
  • Cadmium Yellow Dark
  • Sap Green
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Thalo Green
  • Indigo
  • Burnt Umber

Painting Instructions:
Lightly sketch the dragonfly and the leaves on the paper.

  • Using the round brush, and a pale wash of Cadmium Yellow, paint in the body of the dragon fly.   
  • Wet the wings with clean water and drop in the yellow wash in various location on the dragonfly's wings.  
  • Using Thalo Green paint in the segmented are of the body allowing some of the yellow to show through.  Refer to photo above.  
  • Use a pale wash of Ultramarine Blue, paint in areas of the wings dragging the brush from the tip to the body with light pressure at the start of the brush stroke and ending with a heavier pressure at the body to deposit a deeper amount of color.  
  • Use Alizarin Crimson to paint the eyes of the dragon fly.
  • Mix Alizarin Crimson with Ultramarine Blue to make a purple.  Use this to add color to the dragonfly wings.  Refer to the photo above.
  • Caution:  In order to achieve the translucent look of the dragonfly wings, be certain to leave areas of the wings unpainted.  Allow the white paper to show through in various places.  
  • Using the tip of your round brush or a liner brush paint lines in the wings using a deep wash of Ultramarine Blue.  
  • Using a wash of Indigo and the tip of your round brush, paint the ends of the body segments.
  • Using  a wash of Burnt Umber, paint in the front legs.  

Using the round brush and painting wet on wet, use shades of Sap Green Cadmium Yellow Light and Dark to paint the stem and leaves.  Deepen the color of the green at the base of the leaves by mixing Ultramarine Blue to the green.  Refer to the photo above.

Congratulations - sign your name!

Happy Painting!

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