First off there is something I feel I should mention about being an artist. IT IS IN NO WAY ALL ABOUT TALENT. Nope nope nope. There are theories and concepts that can be learned if one is inclined. Rules and reasons why one thing works and something else doesn't. Even the simple act of drawing is a learned skill. Some might be wired to enjoy it more, but everyone can be taught. Ill be going over some of those technical lessons here. The execution is learned, its the vision that comes from within.
OK, here we go!
These are the pieces in question:
The composition is great in both pieces, I used the exact same drawing in fact. Its all in the color.
Originally the idea was to use a tiger butterfly, but since the previous dragon had a similar butterfly in it, I tried to change the concept to different wing pattern. The problem was that I didn't change the color scheme. With the yellow butterfly I had decided to go with purple flowers. Purple and yellow are across from each other on the color wheel, so they work really well together, and its a color scheme I use a lot. I tried to change it to green in the wings but tried to keep the purple flowers. While purple and green can go well together, these shades didn't. To make matters worse I started to add orange to the leaves, and that made everything clash. And on top of all that, the color in the leaves is the same as the color in the body of the butterfly, meaning there wouldn't be a strong enough contrast to really set the dragon off from the flower. It all just kinda blended together with a splotch of purple in the middle. In trying to fix it I also started to over work the piece. Over working a piece is a little harder to explain. There is a point where if you add or change anything else, it changes the piece completely...granted, the piece was already gone, so over working it is a moot point, but to over work it so early meant that I couldn't make changes later on with out doing some damage, if I decided to try and save it. At that point I threw my hands in the air and pretty much called it quits on that one.
Once I made the decision to try again, and go back to my original gut feelings on the piece it flowed much more easily. The yellows played against the purple perfectly, and I even went with a more yellow green in the leaves to push that contrast even farther. I also used the striping in the Tigers wings as a place to add more purple, bringing the colors of the flowers into the butterfly more. As well as used purple in the shadows of the leaves, just so lightly that you can barely tell. Scattering the main colors around the painting will help guide the viewers eye around to where you want it to go.
Now that all 4 of the main butterflies are finished I can honestly say that I enjoyed painting these guys, and there will be many more butterfly dragons.