Friday, 11 December 2015

Big Brother lily and the Old World swallowtail butterfly

I'm preparing to my next painting. This time I've chosen the Big Brother lily and the Old World swallowtail butterfly. They both are so interesting!
I spotted the Big Brother lily (actually Lilium hybridum Big Brother Oriental Trumpet) last year when I was walking around with my camera to capture the beauty of the flowers near my parents home. I was just rooted to the spot when I saw this flower. It was huge, the flowers were the biggest lily flowers I had ever seen before. Moreover, I could smell it from a distance and I actually found her by following her fragrance. I took several dozen photos of it. Here is how it looked like:

I still remember how fascinated I was by it's beauty. At that time I just new that I would paint it one day. And here is the time.
I've read that this lily can get very tall (up to 2 meters), with blooms up to 35 cm in diameter. I think the one that I spotted was about 1,5 meters tall.
I'm still thinking which colors should I use for the petals. They are not really white, they have lemon yellow centres, but the petals have light-butter-like color. The colors will be challenging in this one, that's for sure.

I decided to place this flower in the center of the page with about 15 cm of stem with the leaves. On one leaf I want to paint a caterpillar of the Old World swallowtail butterfly and the adult butterfly on one of the buds. The butterfly is also known as the common yellow swallowtail or simply the swallowtail. That's interesting because in Poland (where it's very popular, like in most countries in Europe) it's called paź królowej, which in English literally means the queen's pageboy. Wikipedia also says that it's considered to be one of the most beautiful insects, which has become valuable prize for collectors.
Here is my initial ink sketch. Now I have to transfer it to watercolor paper and I'll be ready to pait. I can't wait! :)


  1. hello I read almost your post,and now I have a question for you. How to transfer the ink sketch to watercolor paper? I love your paintings very much and I admire your patience and spirit.looking forward to your reply. Thanks very much

    1. Hello there! Thank you! There are many methods to transfer the ink sketch. Now I'm using a light pad (Huion size A3) which is the esiest and the fastest way. I just place the ink drawing on the light pad, then watercolor paper on top and I just trace.
      You can also use graphite wax free transfer paper called Saral.
      Or you can use a tracing paper and a method used by many botanical artists, who don't have a light pad. I showed it in this video: