Paint Iridescence

Blue Morpho Butterfly WIng Structure

Blue Morpho Butterfly Wing under the microscope shows the structure of the overlapping scales.

Blue Morpho butterflies are my favorite butterflies. They are part of the brushfoot butterflies from the Neo Tropics. I first saw one flying in Costa Rica and was mesmerized by the dazzling irridescent blue. The Latin word for the Order of butterflies is Lepidoptera. Lepidoptera means “scaled wing”. The picture on the left shows the structure of butterfly wings. The scales overlap similar to shingles on a roof. Painting iridescent butterflies can be a challenge and it is one that I LOVE TO PAINT!

"Blue Morpho" - Original watercolor ©2013 Mindy Lighthipe

“Blue Morpho” – Original watercolor ©2013 Mindy Lighthipe

I was commissioned to paint this Blue Morpho painting with an Art Nouveau motif. It is a t-shirt design for Wild Cotton t-shirt company. The t-shirt will be showcased in the 2014 catalog. I had a great time working with the swirls and interweaving the leaves.  I studied the style of Alphonse Mucha to come up with this design. The painting includes the caterpillar, egg and chrysalis of the morpho. I was able to create the underside of the butterflies wings using the eye spots in the circle surrounding the butterfly.

Are you comfortable painting iridescent butterflies, hummingbirds, and shells? Would you like to learn? Leave a comment and let me know if these subjects are a challenge for you.

If you are interested in purchasing an archival print of this painting please visit my Etsy Store.