Paperclay Design Team Submission 1 – Butterfly Painting (PICTURE HEAVY)

I decided a while back (Tuesday of last week – Thank you Robi for the kick in the butt) that I was actually going to do a couple of submissions for the Creative Paperclay Design Team.  I have made my own Paper Clay – for the record the Creative Paperclay is far superior than the stuff I made.  It is smoother and works more like an earthenware clay.  I can say I don’t remember Paperclay being this easy to use but I am officially sold on this product and even if I don’t make the Design Team, it will become a regular in my supply collection.  My idea for my first submission came from lack of sleep.  I was laying in bed staring at the ceiling Tuesday night and I thought that butterfly painting would be so cool if I could make it 3D.  Jeff was nice enough to go to the Art Supply Store downtown and pick me up a brick before work.  Once I had the Paperclay I knew what and how I was going to do it.

I have basic sculpting knowledge, my mom is a professional doll artist and I remember watching her build armatures as a kid.  I knew I needed some type of base to build upon. 

Armature of the butterfly – created from a cereal box, tin foil, bamboo skewer and metal tape.  At first I thought card board then I thought wait a cereal box.  I bent the cereal box in half and free handed the butterfly wings.  I cut them out and applied the clay – it of course collapsed because there was nothing in the middle supporting it.  I added a piece of rolled tinfoil and realized it needed more support.  I added a piece of cardboard and another piece of rolled tinfoil I covered that with metal tape.  I once again tried to put the clay on it.  It bent the cardboard because the wing did not have enough support.  I added two bamboo skewers to the wing with metal tape.  It worked perfectly.

I did put the armature together on my April 7th show In the Paint Box.  I painted the canvas background on my March 31st show and had a wonderful background to start with.  I added the armature to the canvas board with white glue and rolled the paperclay out with a fondant roller to about a 1/8″ thickness.  My goal was to create the illusion that the wings of the butterfly were very thine without compromising the entire structure of the design.  I took the paperclay and squeezed it between my thumb and fore finger to create a very delicate looking edge.

I then decided I also wanted the Milkweed Plant the butterfly was on to be 3D also.  I had some Styrofoam balls and cut them very carefully in half to create the flowers.  I originally added an additional flower to the bottom left side of the painting but I removed it because I thought it was too much.

 I needed to prop up the wing while it dried so I used a roll of masking tape to prop between the wings.  I also did detail on the flowers of the milk weeds.

Once the everything was dry (it took approximately 24 hours I did speed up the wings of the butterfly with a hairdryer and it worked great!) I painted the flowers and the butterfly solid colors.  I find when painting butterflies it is easier for me to get the detail I need when the butterfly is a solid middle of the road hue (color).  I thin my paints out so much that I use the lighter colors almost as a wash to bea able to slowly bring out the highlights of the butterfly.

So I had my butterfly sitting on my easel with the strict instructions to my daughter DO NOT TOUCH the butterfly.  I guess the wings were to tempting and she decided to try and make the butterfly fly.  Instead of making the butterfly fly she cracked it.  I had a small breakdown and then fixed the butterfly with paperclay.  It was an easy fix but I was still really mad that she broke it.  After the wings dried once again (hairdryer was a huge aid with this) I got back to painting.

I painted the lines (veins) with black craft paint and then added shading to the flowers.  I also added a small leaf on the lower left hand side to make the flowers look less floaty.  For the antenna and the leg, I used 21 gauge wire and made a hole into the head and body of the butterfly – I did secure them with tacky glue.

I was really impressed with the ease of incorporating a 2D painting into an almost 3D Design.  I do not consider myself a mixed media artist but after this piece I think my horizons have been broadened.  The paperclay takes paint wonderfully and for any painter who is looking for a way to create a unique 3D effect the paperclay is wonderful.  It takes paint well, I did not put any gesso on my pieces but I did seal them with a sealer to protect the paint (paint can fade or chip easily this is not reflective of the paperclay).  I was impressed on the ease of painting the piece it really did paint like a freshly gesso canvas.    I hope everyone enjoyed this piece as much as I did making it (expect for the broken but easily fixable wing).

****Please note I purchased or found all items in this project.  I was not given any item from any vendor or sales representative from any company.

Blog Hop Button Finished on the 15th: FaveCrafts Blog Hop for April


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