White Hydrangea Blossoms in Oil and a Butterfly Surprise!

What are your favorite July flowers? Hydrangeas are one of my favorites and I enjoy painting them.

Since they are blooming in my garden now, I got out my oils and a 5x7 acid-free panel to do a small painting focusing on one of the blossoms.

When I went outside to get a close-up view of the flowers, I noticed a black butterfly hanging upside down from the stucco siding of the house. I was hoping it was not caught in a spider web, but upon closer inspection,  I saw this:

A chrysalis! Evidently, it had just emerged and was drying its new wings.  What a treat to see a brand new butterfly! Later, I saw it fluttering about the flower garden.

After watching it for a bit, I let it flutter while I went into the studio to paint the hydrangeas.

I begin with a scribbled sketch on the panel to place things and then paint the background - some dark greens and a few leaves. The yellow is from a prior demo painting I did in class. When the students left, I did not want to continue that piece, so I wiped the paint off. It left a yellow stain, but that will be easy to paint over. Ah, the joys of oils! One couldn't do that with watercolor.
Next, I brush some shading color on the flower area using blue, white and a purple mixed from blue and red:

Here I paint the base color for a smaller bit of hydrangea just showing at the bottom of the painting. I am using a thin glaze at this point so the paint will dry fast:

Here is how the whole thing looks with the initial glaze and the shadow side delineated:

They look like blue hydrangeas at this point, but we're not done. Since these are oils, I can paint white blossoms over the blue once it has pretty much dried:

Now it's beginning to look like a hydrangea, yes?

I paint the background flower and the one in the lower right. I want them to look more lacy, so I paint some of the background color between the blossoms making small "holes" in the flower around the edges only.

A bit of yellow-green and dark centers to each blossom bring the hydrangea to life:

After adding a bit more color and detail, the painting is finished:

This 7x5 inch painting is sold. Ask if you'd like me to paint one for you!

Hope you enjoyed the demo.

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