Birds and Butterflies inspire our imagination and capture our hearts!
In this fun, nature-inspired class we will begin by gathering photos of birds and butterflies. Next we’ll make acrylic paintings on fabric with a step-by-step technique that makes realism surprisingly simple.
From there we will embellish our realistic butterflies and birds with stenciling, bits of old lace, stitching, buttons, pearls, sequins, beads, or vintage rhinestone jewelry, and then put it all together with found collage ephemera to make intimate, personal, and fun pieces of art. Once we start assembling our collages, the sky’s the limit for the different things you can do.
Lesson 1: Collect & Prep
To begin, you will need to collect suitable images of two large birds (such as a Blue Jay or Robin), two small birds (such as a Chickadee or Goldfinch or Sparrow), and two butterflies by using your own camera (and/or browsing royalty free image websites); we will alter the images slightly and print them out. Next you will gather your collage ephemera: diverse fragments, approximately 30 different pieces of varying shapes and sizes, to be used to compose finished collage artworks.
Lesson 2: Outlining & Simplifying
You will begin three paintings today. Using a mechanical pencil, carefully sketch the contour and interior details on the muslin fabric for one large bird, one small bird and one butterfly. (Tracie will demonstrate a quick tracing technique as well.) Once you have your drawing, simplify the subjects into 3-5 large color areas and paint each area with the appropriate color using the dry brush method.
Lesson 3: All In The Details
It is time to paint the details of the subjects. Although it might seem difficult, painting is a matter of training the eye to see the range of colors, noting the subtle shifts from one color to the next, and then translating that information to your simplified paintings. You will be using the dry brush method when you want a particular area to be opaque and the transparency/wash method when you want to see multiple layers of paint.
Lesson 4: Addition & Subtraction
Add embellishments to your birds and butterfly: stenciling, bits of old lace, stitching, buttons, pearls, sequins, beads, vintage rhinestone jewelry, etc. Then cut the painted subjects out from their original fabric canvases in order to use in your collages.
Lesson 5: Large Scene Collage
Gather your favorite paper, photographs, and/or fabric fragments. Create a composition using your large bird as the focal point. Consider your use of color, texture and balance. Continue adding, subtracting and moving elements around until the piece is complete. Secure with matte medium.
Lesson 6: Small Scene Collages
Design two small-scene collages using your smaller bird and butterfly subjects. “Anchor” your bird to one of your collage elements and add a delicate shadow beneath its feet or body.