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Friday, March 2, 2012

Silvery Blue Butterfly (male) Painting in Miniature

Today's work in the studio resulted in a miniature butterfly painting using pastel on sanded paper. Yesterday, I spent about an hour working with my photo references to come up with the resulting composition and then I was able to actually paint it in one day.

Most of you may not realize this tiny butterfly which is resting momentarily on a single blade of grass has a wing-span of only about an inch!!!!  (which means one fore wing measures less than a half inch).   In addition to the striking blue metallic color of the upper wings, you should also notice the fray of tiny white hairs on the outer border of the wings which is characteristic of this species.
I called this painting "A Wink of Blue"  because you only see the intense color when the male opens his wings and it is only for a fraction of a second (like most butterflies, they keep the wings folded unless in flight)! The painting therefore acts as a "teaser" to the observer, offering only a partial glimpse of those splendid blue wings; something that can be easily missed in the blink of an eye.

Silvery Blue Butterfly Painting in pastel by Colette Theriault
"A Wink of Blue"
male silvery blue butterfly
(Glaucopsyche lygdamus)
4.5" x 3"
pastel on sandpaper


  1. Its great to get a painting/drawing finished in a day sometimes isn't it?

    Beautiful subject and one that is much in my thoughts at the moment. In the UK bees and butterflies have suffered a huge decline due to man-made changes to their habitat. We plan to replace a lawned area of our garden with a wildflower bed to encourage more pollinating insects to our garden this Summer.

  2. Sue, it is somewhat similar here in Ontario...the Provincincial gov't has had to ban the use of publically used insecticides and many municipalities, including ours, have banned phosphate based organic fertilisers. Commercial opperations however are currently exempt from the ban...At least they are recognizing the harm these chemicals have on organisms and the environment but it was a long time overdue!
    Meanwhile, I continue to increase my flower gardens.
    Thanks for your comment!

  3. So beautiful! and you painted it with such details.. Wonderful.

  4. i can't believe this is pastel making!!! Perfect

  5. Beautiful pastel work Colette. Love it. It's so delicate and detailed.

  6. Doreen, I had to keep my pastel points extra fine to render the detail in such a small space. Thanks for your comment!