Elizabeth took out third prize in our first Mad Box Challenge, for her work 'Butterfly.' At only 13 years of age, Elizabeth demonstrates a phenomenal knowledge of artistic practices, from sketch to watercolour to improvising with found objects and assemblage. In creating 'Butterfly', she demonstrated a unique artistic vision that combines a cool eye for imagery with a spirit of playful inventiveness, which is what the Challenge is all about. it combines an element of printmaking, but substitutes ink for Micador Oil Pastels - Water Soluble, making the most of the versatile consistency of our water soluble pastels.


Step 1: Make a butterfly linocut

Elizabeth started by drawing and carving a transfer image of a butterfly resting on a tree into a piece of ribbed linoleum. She then used water-soluble pastels to decorate the linocut with the colours of the butterfly and the tree it is perched on.

Step 2: Transfer the image

Next she covered the Roymac Rains Watercolour Paper with a light blue pastel as base for a glowing effect, then ran a wet sponge over both the lino and paper to prepare them for an image transfer. She then pressed the linocut firmly into the paper, transferring the image onto the sheet of paper.

Step 3: Flesh out the picture

After using an oil pastel to shade a block of brown pastel to form the impression of a tree, Elizabeth started adding more colour to flesh out the picture, smoothing it down with a wet sponge. With a flat brush dipped in water, she evened out the background colour and printed more linocut butterflies on the moist paper.

Step 4: Detail

Alternately laying down colour with oil pastels and blending it with a wet paintbrush, Elizabeth worked in some fine detail on the central butterfly, making it stand out against the blue base of the watercolour paper.

Step 5: Finishing

For very fine detail on the butterfly’s antenna, Elizabeth used a fine, wet brush to gather up and paint with black oil pastel.

About the Artist

Elizabeth Allison's achievement here is all the more remarkable as she was just 13 when created her 'Butterfly' She’s been drawing since she was very young, taking after her mother who is an architect and interior designer with a keen interest in painting. Her favorite medium is soft pastels, which allows her to blend colours as she demonstrates here.
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