I started a new botanical project about a week ago. I was asked to paint several paintings which would refer to the art of Maria Sibylla Merian - German entomologist and artist who lived in XVII/XVIII century. My paintings will be exhibitet in a hall dedicated to Maria during Museum at Nights 2016 event, in Library of Polish Academy of Sciences in Gdańsk. I am very excited, because it will be the first time I will exhibit my paintings.
I noticed that Maria's works depict plants and life cycles of specific insects and others, but mostly butterflies. In my first project I decided to paint Echium vulgare and show the life cycle of Melitaea didyma, including chrysalis (pupa) stage, larva (caterpillar) stage and imago (adult butterfly) stage.
My first stage was drawing the outlines on the tracing paper.
Having my drawings on the tracing paper I could cut out every shape and this way I was able to move every piece around to make a composition which I was happy with. At this stage I rejected two leaves, because the composition was too busy and I didn't have space to place them. This photo shows my first concept of the composition, but eventually I ended up with something a little bit different.
This is my final composition. This photo is manipulated to show you the pencil drawing.
Here is the close-up of the pencil drawing.
First washes on Echium vulgare.