Madame Butterfly

And now the next lesson of Julliette Crane’s Serendipity I Classes! This one is on “Adding Unique Details” which was quite a fun but intensive session. And today, we have Little One being a butterfly! Totally unintentional and unplanned but as I progressed through the lesson, the painting somehow ended in that direction which made it all the more intriguing. Let’s see how it all happened!

The Background

As usual, we begin with a rather intuitive approach to our painting, starting with the background. We start playing around with paint and experimenting with color and application seeing it where it all takes us. I began with a selection of iridescent acrylic inks by Daler and Rowney and spread them randomly with a sponge brush on a page from Art Gecko A3 sized sketchbook. Once dry, some large pieces of collages including wrapping tissues, wrapping paper and paper napkins, just scraps I found in my box. For more mark making, I stenciled in some leafy patterns and stamped on some bubble wrap prints with Ranger’s ink. Great start!

Introducing Character

That elongated strip was getting me started. So pretty is it that I did not want to cover it up or lose it in the process of painting and thus decided to work around it. A dress was not a possibility due to the shape and not wanting to change it, and I definitely wanted to introduce a character wearing it. After some thoughts, I went for a butterfly! I think the butterflies in that strip inspired me! The sides were roomy enough to create wings, and there was enough space on the top for a head and antennae! First I drew in the outlines with a chalk pencil then once I was happy with it, I traced over with white ink. And then came the head I cut out of a piece of brown paper bag and colored in with quinacridone azo nickel gold and white. And now the background first with some Cobalt Teal and Permanent Green. Negative space was hence created for the wings and crown.

Developing the Butterfly

I was content with the color scheme of the background but also introduced some Cobalt Turquoise. Once I was done with the background, the wings were painted in with Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Violet, Fluorescent Pink, Fluorescent Red and Titanium White. The contrast between the pink and green is just amazing. Just to make it more colorful, though, I glued on small bits of orange wrapping tissue. Then the hair was drawn in, as well as the eyes and the antennae. Loving it so far!

Finishing Up

First worked on the eyes and decided to make them purple to blend in with the color scheme of the wings, then the antennae in white. The hair was then painted and drawn in with some black marking pencil. And now comes the fun part: adding some bling! I started with the eyes by lining the lashes with some glitter pen and then lined the antennae wires with some silver glitter Relief Paste by Marabu and dabbing on some pearlescent Watercolor ground to add texture and shine to the ends. A bit of pink IZINK glitter paint on the wings and blue glitter gel were then spread in the background. Finally, some craft-punched flowers on origami paper and I was good to go! Now my pretty little Madame Butterfly!

How wonderful to see Little One dressed as a butterfly! And how stunning too. As such I wanted to name her Madame Butterfly because of her elaborate costume, reminiscent of the opera. As said in the beginning, this was not even planned which makes Juliette Crane’s classes so interesting. The aim of following her lessons is to explore the unexpected, even beyond your comfort zone. I do look forward to her next one and creating more such paintings!

Click here for more about Juliette Crane and her amazing classes!


  1. This is such a lovely and inspiring post! Adding unique details truly made a big difference in bringing the painting to life. The butterfly character turned out great, and the use of different materials and techniques made the piece even more stunning. Thank you for sharing this wonderful experience!

    ~ Vika

    Liked by 1 person

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