Painting #19 of 52/52 Painting Challenge + Bonus Beetle!

"Orchid Bee" Watercolor on Vellum; MLighthipe ©2012

This painting was finished last week and I was already to scan it when…… I couldn't find it!

Vellum is made from animal skin and it it tends to buckle and ripple when it gets moist. When I was done with the painting I put it inside a heavy thick book to keep it flat. Then I put the book down some where and then I couldn't remember which book I put it in. I hate when this happens. It is a signal to me that it is time do some cleaning and putting things away. Too much clutter is not efficient and I really get angry with myself when I spend too much time looking for things rather than painting.

Maybe I lost the painting because I didn't like that way it came out. I had been happy with painting on vellum until I did this piece.The orchid bee I chose to paint was a spectacular metallic blue and emerald. The calf skin that I was painting on was mottled and earth toned. The vellum color really subdued the brilliant color on the paper. I tried to get it to "zing" but it wouldn't. The more I fussed the darker and heavier it became. I realized that the transparent nature of watercolor was allowing the natural color to shine through. The other paintings I did on vellum were beetles in neutral colors. The subject and the color on the past paintings were a match made in heaven. Not so with this piece. Overall the painting is not a bad one, but it wasn't what I was looking for. I decided to do another test painting on a small scrap of pure white vellum to see if I could get vibrant, brilliant color. Here is the little beetle I did. It is a wood boring metallic beetle. The painting is only 2.5 " x 4". I found it much more successful to paint on the lighter color vellum.

So an important thing I have learned is that watercolor really is transparent (what was I thinking??) and that when choosing a bright subject that you want to depict in true technicolor you should plan accordingly. It actually goes nicely in the series but I am looking forward to playing around with lighter pieces of vellum.


I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day start of the summer weekend. I am amost done with my next painting so I will post this week again. I didn't want you to think that I forgot….. even if I can't find it…… I am still painting!