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Entries in butterflies (3)


Tutorial - Young Girl with Butterflies

My work in progress is always so confusing to the studio visitor. Here is a small tour of how I design a painting. Believe it or not - there is a detailed road map to this painting. I've drawn it on sketch paper. I've identified my composition, colors, and chosen stamps for pattern making. I've prepared my surface with under painting color and marks, then transfered the design on to the prepared paper.

I usually paint the face first. If I don't love the face I'll abandon the painting. Once that part of my painting is settled, I begin working on the background.  As you can see my figure is taped out to protect the surface from additional overpainting, and I've started to block in the field of flowers.

Once I have my flowers painted, I pull the tape. 

Then I retape to frame my dress and stamp a pattern on to it.

Here is a close up of the dress.

I lift the tape and refine the details of the face, hair and ribbon. 

A few more details will still be added to this painting: more flowers, butterflies and grasses.

And there she is, ready to become a greeting card, a coloring book page, and framed as a finished painting.

I'll be teaching my process in a workshop in May. If you are local to the Denver area check my calendar for workshop information. Happy painting!


Butterflies, a tutorial 

I used to write a painting blog, The SMALL Art Project, but I have found that it is too hard to have multiple places I post art. So over time I'll be incorporating a lot of the previous entries into this blog and the will be found in my blog roll under ART TUTORIALS. I really enjoy sharing my painting process. Always at the end of my tutorials are a list of discoveries.


What do you do with paintings gone bad? I am an advocate of cutting things up, and in this case, I think the project is so much fun that you might be inspired to make a painting TO cut up!

My painting started out on 90 pound cold press watercolor paper. It was a painting of poppies. I was so terribly disappointed in the painting I decided to just have a bit of fun with it. I added more watercolor and acrylic in bright colors. I painted swirls,  dots, and stamped small images across the surface making sure everything was covered. Don't forget paints like Lumiere or other beautiful metallics to add rich layering and a light catching elements.  I turned the painting over and cut it into squares about 3x3 inches square with my straight edge. I always do this from the back to ensure the randomness of my final image.

Aren't these pretty! I flipped all of my images over. I think you can see a few of the poppies. I was still thinking I might reassemble this painting into a collage however, I'd been thinking about butterflies.

I drew only half of a great butterfly, and cut it from fairly stiff card stock. Although I like to work from the back so that I am surprised by my results and I can see my pencil lines better, I've done this from the front to help you see the method. One side of the butterfly is outlined. Flip it over lining up the end points from the first drawing and outline the other half of the butterfly. Cut your butterfly out. Bend the wings up along the length of each side of the body.

Don't throw the scraps away because there is always a new perfect something to use them for!

I've popped stacks of butterflies and glue dots into envelopes and mailed them to friends for celebrations. I've covered gift boxes with them. I pasted them all over the walls in my studio to help think of Spring. And I would love to see  your butterflies.

  • Discovery:
  • No painting is a waste. And no art supply is a waste.
  • Tiny images in mass can be really beautiful art
  • "Everything looks better with Lumiere. "quote from my sister, fiber artist, Nancy Shriber





My oh My, Butterflies

Petite Floribunda, 5x5 inches framed acrylic

This morning I received an email from one of my favorite young artists/bloggers, Kelly Rae Roberts.

The email was titled “Dear You”, and when I opened it, I found a new collage painting from her.

Kelley is a fan of words and type. I find her work very appealing. When I first saw Kelly’s art it took me back to my high school days at Rosati Kain in St Louis. We had wonderfully creative art teachers who were graphic oriented. By my 2nd year of high school, I had already cut my own alphabet from pink pearl erasers and I was reasonably competent cutting stencils for screen printing. My favorite art class project ever was multi colored, silk screened layers of house plants on big sheets of paper. We over stamped our screen prints with “flower power” statements and themes, all created from our own fonts we had carved and shared. Then we lined the halls throughout the school with these dynamic flower and plant images beautifully claiming, This Year Its Flowers!!

 How serendipitous that I would find this email on this particular morning. “Dear You, now is the time to follow your heart’s deepest calling.” I am one of the old gals taking risks. After years of raising children and working 9-5, my path has directed me to start a new venture that includes lots of risk and more than a little anxiety. But I am a risk taker and I believe in moving forward without fear. I have failed more than once, but I’ve also done some really great things, like marry John, and raise 3 sons who are incredible individuals that I am enormously proud of. At this point in my life, I have created a line of greeting cards, which I perceive as the risky part. But life evolves and so did this. I moved to Colorado with my husband and children at the age of 50. As a painter, the very first thing I did, even before moving, was join a local art guild. Through the guild I found painting friends with interesting methods I had not tried before. Inspiration gave a new voice to my paintings. My art evolved in layers that I found exciting, and eventually I began my series of women. These women spoke to me in a way my art had not in the past. I created Women I Might Have Known as a blog of stories about the great women I have known who have inspired and guided me through my life. I was delighted when the images easily sold. Realizing my paintings spoke to others about their own memories, they evolved into greeting cards.


The really big risk, is taking them to the National Stationary Show in NYC this month. But here I go moving forward and not looking back. I have faith in myself and my work, and am certain that if my beautiful women do not sell, it will not be because I did not try.  

As artists, we cannot make it, show it or sell it without investing ourselves. We are old enough to follow our passions and listen to our own truths. We know what they are because they have been there all along, nudging us forward in little baby steps. I have always believed you make your own things happen. Those little butterflies you feel in your stomach? Let them carry you forward, or as Ms Roberts says, “take flight.”

 If you would like to see Kelly Rae Roberts beautiful paintings, or just gather inspiration from a smart young lady who took big risks, check out her blog

 If you would love to make a few butterflies to flutter around in your creative space, or perhaps to fill an envelope and mail to a friend who needs encouragement, check out my how to on The Small Art Project

Shop my catalog for a new card, and if you are in New York, find me in booth 1169

No picking!Stick to that story when they catch you picking flowers.