I was inspired to create this image after seeing a photo online of a huge swarm of Morpho blue butterflies on a tree in Mexico. Almost the entire tree was covered by a sheen of brilliant, iridescent blue.
I had recently been to Perth’s Museum and taken a lot of photos, as usual. I had over 60 images of butterflies from their exhibit, and many of these butterflies I had digitally cut out on my Samsung Galaxy S4 mobile phone, using my favourite cutting App, AThumbCut. This included some blue butterflies.
For the background, I chose a stylised image of plants and leaves. Which I’d photographed last week while in Fremantle. If you really must know, it’s from the walls of the ahem! public toilets on the square. I NEVER pass up a photo opportunity, no matter how incongruous the setting!
Using PicsArt, I blended the background with an image of a scrapbooking paper. And also with an image I’d Percolated months earlier.
Then I ran the resulting image through Smoothie, Photo Editor and PicsArt again, tweaking the hues, saturation, brightness, contrast, until I was satisfied that I’d gotten a good background for my blue butterfly. One of my favourite techniques is to replace colours (using Photo Editor) until I get a scraped-away, grunged, peeled paint, spattered, batik kind of look in some areas.
Then it was a simple matter of going back to PicsArt and positioning my butterfly onto the background. To give the clip art image some variety, I played with the opacity, size, orientation and blend mode. So now the butterflies look like they are on different levels, and this gives the image more depth. I normally like to keep my clip art images within the boundaries of my backgrounds, but for this image I wanted to convey a sense of space, that what the viewer was seeing was just a small part of a much larger picture. So that’s why some of the butterflies appear to be coming from outside the image, or heading out of it. To add more realism to essentially what is just one clip art butterfly image, I individually drew in the antennae of each of the 9 butterflies.
I ran the image through Repix next, and basically obliterated it with drips, hatching, paint daubs etc. And then, using the Undoer brush, I simply cleaned up the areas where the butterflies were, to reveal them.
I decided to play with the hue and liked this orange and gold version so much that I’ve kept it too.
And there you go…Butterfly Swarm Blue, and Butterfly Swarm Orange.
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