Birch Trees And Butterflies Day 7 Of 30 Paintings In 30 Days

For Birch Trees and Butterflies I wanted to do some layering since that seems to be an important aspect to mixed media work. I have to admit right now that I don’t always enjoy layering. I mean, I like the process of layering, but I don’t like the way it often dulls the colors. It seems like the pieces I try to layer become very dark or very brown. I miss the clear, vibrant colors I usually paint with.

I am not sure if this is just something that happens to beginners. Maybe if I plan a little more to use certain colors, so I don’t end up with a grayed-out or browned-out painting, I will have more success. At the same time, I don’t want to do any planning, because the process is supposed to be intuitive. I want to let the piece unfold. I am a bit stumped right now, but I am sure I’ll figure it out through trial and error. Working in mixed media has always been a challenge for me because I am a bit of a control freak when it comes to painting. I like sketches and plans so “going-with-the-flow” is always something I have to put some effort into doing ,which probably sounds like a contradiction, but my instinct is to have a plan. Sometimes you have to do things differently to gain some knowledge, experience, and growth. I am improving, but progress is slow! I often find I don’t know where to begin or when to stop. My mixed media work often looks like it is missing something to me, but I don’t always know what to add, where to add it, or even when to put that magic something into the painting. I definitely need to consider composition more as I am going along.

Birch Trees and Butterflies
Birch Trees and Butterflies 7×14 inches mixed media on canvas.

I used some pages from a catalog to make the trees. I thought words in print might add to the texture of the birch trees. I like the way they came out. I wish the butterflies were brighter. I used white gesso underneath the orange paint in the hopes that it would brighten them up, but I am still disappointed in the color. For the leaves I used an old manilla envelope and some yellow mulberry paper. To begin the painting I painted the entire canvas with a sky blue. Then I put a thin layer of white gesso over the top of it and tried painting the birch trees is using the side of an old credit card. I didn’t like the way they looked so I put another thin layer of gesso on top of that. Then I started using the paper to make the trees. To make them stand out I painted around them with a darker blue.

I am still on the fence about this one. Is it finished? Is it good? Is it something I could do better if I tried to recreate it?  I think I may need more branches and more yellow leaves. I’ll have to set is aside and take a look at it in a few days with fresh eyes. Maybe then I’ll know what to do!

4 thoughts on “Birch Trees And Butterflies Day 7 Of 30 Paintings In 30 Days”

  1. I love that you shared all of your doubts and questions and wonderings with us. I say try again and see what you learn from that. I love the brilliant colors. Love the cobalt!
    The only thing I would suggest… maybe add another tree but angled. In the background maybe…. just something to break up the strong linear aspect. maybe more butterflies, or more leaves…. Just thinking out loud. I am really curious, and I hope you will show us if you decide to work on it more. I love the size of your canvas 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.