Learn how to make this abstract painting of butterflies in flight in this step by step tutorial.
If your just starting out with acrylic painting, this abstract painting of butterfly’s will be an easy project- that will help you gain confidence. It’s a great project for beginners. And this butterflies in flight piece make a fabulous DIY painting on canvas for your home decor.
Looking to paint a monarch butterfly? Check this how to draw and paint a butterfly tutorial with YouTube video.
Some techniques you’ll learn in this easy abstract butterfly painting tutorial:
- adding texture with salt
- acrylic paint layering
- mixing paints
- difference between tints and shades
- how to apply gold leaf on canvas (to paint the butterfly)
Oh, and if your just starting out with acrylics and want to learn more about the basics, you might want to go through this Ultimate Beginners Guide: How to Paint with Acrylics. It goes though most things you’ll need to know when starting out.
Also, if you want more painting ideas, check out this list of 40+ Easy Painting Ideas – there’s some simple tutorials for beginners there.
Now, before we begin this tutorial, I’m going to go over a couple of techniques so that you can know a little about them before we begin.
You’ll be a better acrylic artist for it!
Krylon Gold Leaf Pen
The Krylon gold leaf pen is a gorgeous texture medium for paintings. It adds a thin layer of 18kt gold to your canvas. It’s made of real gold- so it look authentic- no dull golds here!
Traditional gold leaf sheets can be tricky to work with for a beginner (you need a glue plus the sheets) . Another product, that’s much easier to use in my opinion, is the Krylon gold foil pen.
I love this pen, I’ve used it for many projects (including quote art on paper and abstract paintings like this one).
It’s made out of 18 Kt Gold, so it’s a gorgeous shade of gold. And you can use it on any surface.
It’s super easy to use, to boot!
We’ll be using the gold leaf pen to paint the butterflies in the painting.
Texture Paint on Canvas
Adding some 3-D texture to your acrylic paint can really liven up a painting- especially an abstract one.
You can buy acrylic texture mediums in craft stores (which I do use for my paintings), but if you want to save money – you can get creative. I’ve found an easy and cheap texture is something you probably have in your kitchen right now.
Yup, from fine grinds to course grinds, sprinkling some salt over areas of your painting, while the paint is still wet will add a really nifty “bumpy” texture.
We will be using salt in the white portion of the butterfly painting on canvas.
Tints versus Shades
For the background for this butterfly painting in acrylic, we’ll be using different shades and tints of blue, by mixing them with black and white paints.
So what is a “shade” and what is a “tint”?
Simply put, a “shade” is any color that’s mixed with black paint. And a “tint” is a any color that’s mixed with white paint.
You might hear these 2 terms when your learning paint mixing and color theory so it’s useful to know the difference.
Now that we’ve gone over some important acrylic techniques, lets start this painting of butterfly’s!
Abstract Butterfly Painting
- Phthalo Blue paint
- White paint
- Black paint
- Krylon Gold Leaf Pen
- Paint Brushes
- A cup with clean water
- a paper plate or disposable pallette
- Phthalo Green paint (Optional)
- Turquoise Deep paint(Optional)
Butterfly Painting Tutorial : Step-by-Step
Paint a thin layer of white paint over your canvas.
While the white paint is still wet sprinkle some salt (small or big grains) over the top half of the painting.
Let the white paint with salt, completely dry before moving to next step. (should only take a couple minutes)
Take some Phthalo Blue in your pallette, and using a large flat brush paint some brush strokes in the bottom half of the canvas.
Let this layer dry completely.
Now let’s make a deep shade of blue. Mix a little bit of black paint with your Phthalo blue. you can mix it with a medium size brush or a palette knife.
Use a medium size brush to add the deep shade of blue into some areas on the canvas.
Let this layer dry completely.
Now let’s create a tint of blue.
Take some white paint and mix it in with the Phthalo blue. This will make a light tint of the blue.
You can either completely mix it, or leave it streaky,so that some pure white comes through. Either way works.
Use a medium brush to add the blue tint to the canvas.
OPTIONAL: you can use some Phthalo green or Turquoise Deep for aome accent brush strokes. Although its not necessary, but it will add some extra dimension.
Let this layer dry completely.
Now that the blue background is complete, we can add in our abstract butterflies!
Draw some butterfly shapes on a piece of paper and cut them out.
Place the butterfly shape on your canvas and trace it with a pencil. Don’t worry about the pencil, it will be covered with the gold leaf pen in the next step.
Trace all your butterflies in an arc shape on your canvas
how to paint a butterfly on canvas
Fill in the butterfly shapes you just traced, will the Krylon Gold Leaf pen.
To use the gold lead pen for the first time, shake the pen a few times to mix the paint. Then gently press the tip on some paper until the paint flows down into the tip. It’s now ready to use.
Now you know how easy it is how to paint butterflies with a gold leaf pen!
Your Done your beautiful DIY art on canvas! It’ll look gorgeous on a shelf, table or hung up on the wall.
Here are some extra picture of the completed butterfly abstract painting.
I hope you enjoyed learning how to make this abstract butterfly painting, along with learning some acrylic tips, techniques and even some paint mixing terms.
You’ve put one step forward in learning more about acrylic painting. You’re a rockstar -you should be so proud!
If you want to share your completed painting, hop on over to my Facebook page and post your pic to share with other budding artists!
Until next time, stay creative & nifty!
Wednesday 8th of September 2021
Hey, where did you find the tutorial? It's not available rn. Can you please help
Tuesday 14th of March 2023
The butterfly tutorial should be up. Can you please try again? If you still can't access it please email me [email protected]
Tuesday 20th of July 2021
Great painting to do. Instructions easy to follow
Friday 30th of July 2021
Thank you Carol & hope you enjoy painting this butterfly painting!
Wednesday 23rd of June 2021
Really enjoying following along to your tutorial, you make it look easy and it actually is! I have to put my own creative spin on it (different colors), but thank you for the inspiration and tutorial/guide!
Saturday 17th of July 2021
Thank you Sarah and so glad you enjoyed the tutorial! And love that you're putting your own creative spin on it
Sunday 18th of April 2021
I have just restarted painting again and read the tutorial on abstract and butterflies.. Loved it. so glad that I was able to find you!!! I like the visual and your explanation..
Monday 21st of June 2021
Thank you Gail for your kind words. So glad to hear you enjoyed the butterfly painting tutorial!
Saturday 6th of February 2021
You just inspired me to take up acrylic painting. Your beginner instructions are so easy to follow. Thank You. George, one of your oldest followers, (84). Never too late to start.
Wednesday 10th of February 2021
I'm so happy you're inspired to paint, it truly is a wonderful hobby that anyone can start. Thank you for sharing George!😃