Friday, March 31, 2017


Last autumn I was walking around my garden seeing what all was still blooming.  In a far corner under a tree I had planted some flowers a garden friend of mine had given me which I didn't have any idea what any of them were... at the time it was all just greenery.  Well, out of the blue, this little flower was in full bloom!  It has tight little flowers all clustered together .  It reminds me of a type of aster. 
 I painted this one in my Stillman and Birn zeta notebook which is just amazing as I've mentioned before.  I don't know why I don't use it for everything... it's like I hold out for really special things to put in it.   (I'm thinking about painting a protea in it this very day!)

(I paint from looking at photographs.  It's how I've always drawn... drawing from real life is something I should probably practice but with my life as crazy as it is I just can't sit down and have a completed drawing before having to stop and start a dozen times.  The blooms will have already dropped by the time I get done!  The "proper" botanical artists paint only by looking at the plant in real life.  Which I agree you can see much more detail or more 3-d detail than by looking at a photograph and you can get a "feel" of the plant's texture, etc by real life.  That being said, cameras have gotten so amazing in how they can capture the tiniest of details forever!  There is a conversation I started on Anna Mason's website/school about this topic.  She mostly paints from a photograph so she understands my point of view.   I DO like having the plant in front of me while I paint, when possible... just for good karma and it's there if I have a question the photograph doesn't answer for me.....  )

(Finished study of...?.....)


This is a tiny study of a dahlia before it opens.  I love the delicate colors.  This was done on an expensive watercolor paper.  I painted it back late last summer.... it's showing some improvement from my start in January.... but still sooo much to learn!
(first layer put down using Jane's Gray mix which is a sort of "botanical gray" using French Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna.  Many botanical artists us a "botanical gray" consisting  Light Red with French Ultramarine Blue.  Pretty much the same thing except the Light Red is brighter and more orangey in my opinion.  I need to do a side by side comparison of the tow and see which I like better!)

(Some yellows and greens going down - I don't know why this photo turned out so yellowish)

(Finished dahlia.  I felt a little more confidence in myself after I painted this little study)

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


This is a fascinating flower with the lacey greenery and the awesome pods that grow after the flower fades.  It's supposed to self-seed in abundance but I always pick the pod before it dries and the seeds mature.  There is white one at my new home my Mom had planted when it was her house years and years ago.  It should be sprouting from the ground any day now, actually!

This is one of the plants I found at one of our client's garden... the one with all the poppies! She had these love-in-the-mist that almost looked like bushes they were so tall and full.  I didn't know they'll do that.  Along with a gazillion of poppy seeds, Mrs. Gillespie gave me many of these seeds as well (both in their dried pods which is awesome for painting and arrangements).

(I'll add color mixes in a little while)


I've never seen nor heard of this plant before last year... my friend was in the creek by our work putting out crawfish traps (that's a whole other story... and I happened to see a bush with these strikingly bright orange berries.  Immediately I went to artist mode and just HAD to have a few branches.  So God bless him, he waded through the freezing cold water to get to the other side of the water where I was pointing!

So, so interesting and pretty.  And now that I know what it is I hope to watch for it to bloom this year and maybe dig up a start for home.  The stems dried and the berries crinkled but not before I took lots of photos! 

This study I painted last winter and it actually is on watercolor paper (not very good one but, still).  I drew it again in my Stillman and Birn Zeta series journal.  Which I LOVE very much!!!! And everyone really likes how you can paint across the seam for a full page study.  Hobby Lobby has a 40% off sale many times through the year so that's a great time to stock up on their journals. 

(color mixes I'll list shortly)
  I hope to really capture the glossy sheen on the red berries next time.  And I think some drybrushing on the more textured orange covering will be a much needed improvement.


What a crazy neat flower this one is!  I've not seen one in real life until last year as I was driving home from work one Saturday,... I spotted a big patch of them at the end of a driveway.  Well, they  looked abandoned to me (wink, wink).  After taking bunches of photos of all stages of growth, I pulled up a couple of baby starts from the clump.  Which will make it spread its wings and be an even happier plant so that was a good thing!

I never would have imagined all the tiny little flowers that make the whole.  And the colors how they slowly fade from top to bottom.  It's such a gift to see through an artist's eye.... I see so much more than I ever would have noticed before. 

 This is a study painted from last year.  It's very subtle and on the mixed media paper which is why there are some many wrinkles.  But it served it's purpose which is to)figure out my color mixes for when I paint a "real" painting and again, on "real" watercolor paper. (I can't figure out why but when I crop the photo and save it that black line pops up.  I'll take another photo and try again.  So weird!)


My Mom brought this flower to me to paint one day at work last year.  I wish I had photographed it more but will hopefully have another chance this season.  It's a neat flower with the greenery at the top and the frills and veins... which I will hope to paint much better next go around!

This is one painted by talented botanical artist Dianne Sutherland (I highly recommend taking one of her many online courses).... Dianne's awesome site
(Crown Imperial by Dianne Sutherland)

(working on the base layers)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


This old forgotten and beat up kitchen cabinet was my Aunt's.  There was one a lot like it in my Granny's kitchen I hoped to get after her passing but someone else got it.  So, my Aunt let me have this one from her husband's side of the family. 

I instantly got to work on it!  A good cleaning, new paint and door knobs and she looks brand new.  It's where I store all of my papers, paints and brushes. I just love how it turned it!

I've since changed the table I paint on, now it's my round kitchen table switched out for this one.  Made more room in my dinning room....  And I put the round table right underneath the only light source (I can't see squat - need better lighting).  I always use an extra light shinning right down on my work as I paint.  Finally got glasses so I can see better what I'm painting.  No more excuse..... lol!

Monday, March 27, 2017


I just dahlias!  Right now I have over 40 different variaties in flower pots in my sunroom getting a head jump on the season.  Last year the few I had bloomed several months and these should bloom even longer since I'm starting about a month earlier!  I hope to dig up the roots and store them safely for next year... the ones I dug up last year I just saw yesterday weren't properly stored.  I don't think I'll get any survivors from that bunch.  Better luck and more wiser next year!

Sketchbook Squirel (Jarnie Goodwin) is a talented artist who has gotten into teaching online.  I love her soft details.  Here is a dahlia she teaches along with the tricky center parts...Jarnie Goodwin Art Dahlia Tutorial
(Jarnie Goodwin Art, AKA Sketchbook Squirrel's Dahlia tutorial)

This dahlia was particularly beautiful with it's brilliant hot pink... which was fun to figure out the color mixes.  It was painted in my mixed media journal but I've also already drawn it on real watercolor paper to paint at a later date.    I really need to find an awesome watercolor paper journal! 

Sunday, March 26, 2017


My only regret about growing this flower is I bought only one bulb. The green hue is so weirdly bluish.  It's in the same family as the checkered lilies botanical artists love to paint.  So, I painted one
in my mixed media jounral and began another one on watercolor paper to see the difference.  How awesome water color paper is!!!!  I really enjoyed painting this one.


Orange star flower is a neat little flower that blooms for quite a while.  I think it's a bulb flower but mine hasn't come back out yet.  It's a brilliant orange that I tried about twenty different mixes to get any where near the right hue.  This is last years study of the flower.  I'm almost out of last years studies to share!  I'll be caught up. 

Dianne Sutherland Ball (incredible artist and teacher) recommended "scarlet lake or pyrrole red plus transparent yellow or Windsor yellow" while fellow artist and also one of her students (we're in the same online class) sys she used "scarlet lake with Windsor lemon added for brightness"....   so many choices and ideas. 

More on Dianne's classes later....


This is a really spectacular plant.  I've not seen what it does during the spring or summer before it's flower turns into this really cool green and then develops into brilliant orange "berries".... The leaves are beautiful even in winter.  I've gotten a tiny "start" from my garden friend who has mounds of these and also where I took all my photos last year to paint.  So, again, this is a study from last year in my mixed media journal. 

There is also my JACK IN THE PULPIT going to seed on the left side.  That's the coolest story! Each Mother's Day I go into the woods and look for trilliums. There's a place I found with hundreds of trilliums just growing wild near a creek down a very, very, very dangerously steep hill in what we call here the "boonies".  Which means in a place out of now where that if you slip and fall no one would ever find you.... But I love my Mom and she loves trilliums so I go digging.  And to make it that much more fun, This time I took my brother and his two boys who think this is the greatest adventure EVER!  And it's rainy.  Yes!

I'm digging up trilliums and finding really beautiful ferns of different varieties. All of a sudden out of no where, I look down and scream "JACK"!!!  The kids look at me like I'm crazy.  I've never seen one in real life but here one is.... a jack in the pulpit!  Such an awesome find.  So we have to search and search until we find one for each of us (Mom and me).  I can't believe we find two! That was the year before.

So, last year, I go again but by myself.  Digging up beautiful ferns and praying for another "jack" (I found them online for over $40).  I had two of those big FoodLion bags that have a flat bottom.  Great for flower picking.  Both are already about 40 pounds each full of plants, roots and dirt (and a couple of energy drinks).  The hill is so steep and slippery it's hard to walk and much less carrying the extremely heavy bags.  I put one down to get it on my way back and head to a patch of maiden hair ferns I found (awesome find), they are so delicate in how they fan out.  It starts pouring down rain.  I'm so far from my car and have to go back to get the bag I had sat down.  I've looked almost four hours for a "jack" and haven't had any luck.  

Well, going back to the bag, I'm just above it and figure the best way to tread was to slide on my hiney until I reached the bag.  As soon as I plopped down my hand layed right beside a "JACK"!!!! It  was complete luck again.  And the only one I found all day.  Heading home drenched and my arms and back aching so badly, I was smiling! Trip - a success.

Long story short, here is Jack in the pulpit that overwinter and came back out for me to paint!  We'll see if he does again.  I know where I'm heading close to Mother's Day... another probably rainy day snitching trilliums, ferns and "Jacks".  Oh, and this past time, I found a huge patch of Beebalm.  What on Earth? 
(Orange candle flower)

(Orange candle flower)

(Orange candle flower)

(I'll add color mixes another time)

I'll find a photo of my Jack in the pulpit to share.  This was fun to paint even last year.  It'll be interesting to see how it'll look now. I actually just this week drew another orange candle flower to paint.  We'll compare the two we I finish.


There are an uncountable many of tulips on the market.  Right now I have about 10 different colored ones blooming early in my sunroom!  Parrot Tulips are amongst the prettiest!  Last year I had several to bloom and that caused a good many photos to be taken for painting purposes!  My Angel Tulips are just a week or so away from blooming outside (about three weeks earlier than last year due to a mild winter)!  

So, Parrot Tulips,.... they are an artist's dream or nightmare as far as the difficulty goes.  Just the drawing alone can be daunting.  I painted these two pages in my journal last year before I saw that Anna Mason has another amazing tutorial.    Anna Mason's Black Parrot Tulip Tutorial   So, just remember, these were painted LAST year!  Ugh!  It's good to see growth by looking back!  And we probably learn something with every painting we create...

(Anna Mason's Black Parrot Tulip Tutorial)

(Mine from last year)

(Mine from last year)


Hellebore (or Christmas Rose, Lenten Rose) is a stunning flower that is usually the very first to bloom, often in the dead of winter with snow on the ground!  I was told you'd get more blooms if you cut off all the leaves first but I don't know if that is a valid idea.  A friend of mine leaves hers to Mother Nature's whims and her patches of hellebore spread like crazy and bloom for an entire month or longer!  They are gorgeous!!!   

(Mom's Hellebore)

(Friend's massive Hellebore clumps - I'm so jealous)
 Seems like many of us botanical artists want to paint this flower; maybe because it is the ONLY flower blooming for a long time for any of us?  It's a challenging one I believe!  I painted this one in my mixed media journal - I was wanting to figure out how to paint the center before I went even further.  This was about a year ago.  Can't seem to get my nerve up to do it now!
(color mixes later)


Hydrangeas come in all sizes and types of colors.... some the flowers bud out all at once and look like a snowball (which is what my Mom calls them, "Snowball bushes") while others bud out staggeredly and I think they are called a "lace cap" variety....  All I know for sure, Lowe's nursery is a great place to take tons of photos without having to purchase the plants.    It was the greatest personal epiphany  when I realized I didn't have to BUY each and every flower I wanted to paint.... most places don't mind at all if you take photos.  Be careful though, I've been bent down before getting just the perfect angle from above and get hosed down by an employee watering flowers who didn't realize I was there.  Awkward!  And refreshing, it WAS pretty hot that day. 

This one seems so plain to me.  No depth, no dry brushing, but I'll share it anyway.  It was painted about a year ago in my mixed media journal...

(color mixes added later)


Mandivilla is a beautiful vine in pink, red or white.  I've been overwintering about eight of the plants.  The only white one I have my Uncle gave to my beloved Granny for Mother's Day a couple years before she passed.  She loved watching it grow tall and taller but I don't think it ever bloomed for her.  She gave it to me to overwinter a few months before she passed away.  So I definitely need to take good care of that one especially!  They are bad for getting aphids during the winter but heck, what isn't... ugh!

This was also painted last year just a few months after I began to paint.  Some of these will get a little embarrassing to share but we all grow and become better artists the more we practice, right?!?

(will add color mixes soon)


I've found this ginger plant at one of our local grocery stores the past two years.  I usually somehow kill it but I think I just figured out it's a bulb plant so maybe it's supposed to die back each year.  I just dug out the bulb so I'll watch for it to sprout, sometime, eventually....

It's a gorgeous bloom that's uniquely interesting! I'm still looking for my photos to share.
As before, this was painted last year in my mixed media journal.   It'll be one I look forward to repainting this year.  As you probably have come to realize,.... I have ALOT of flowers I want to "re-paint" this year as well as new ones I'm just itching to get started on. 
{color mxes: Cobalt Violet + Opera Rose, C.V. + Quinacrodone Magenta, Windsor Violet, Hansa Yellow Medium (D.S.) + Cerulean Chromium (D.S.) and then add that mix to French Ultramarine Blue, Bright Violet (Holbein) + O.R.,  I somehow added the H.Y.M + C.C (D.S.) + F.U.B. mix to the B.V. (Holbein) + Q.M. mix to get a purplish tan color - don't ask}


I highly recommend this flower if you find it at your local nursery.  At Lowe's last year I bought several while on sale.  There were looking a little scraggly so they marked them half off.  Well, once they perked up they bloomed until frost. And spread really lovely.  I found if I took one of the long stems and bent it over into the dirt... (mound dirt all over so at least part of the stem is covered and secure it which I did with a smaller rock) the stem will grow roots and you can later snip it off from the mother plant and move that smaller one to a different location or share with a friend.  They actually kept their leaves way into the winter but look terrible now.  I'm waiting for them to show their first little greenery for the spring season.

Hummingbirds love the tubular blossoms and the brilliant reddish purple color (I think there are a few different colors available).   The stems grow tall as foxgloves! 

Billy Showell painted this flower for one of her tutorials.  She makes it look so easy.  I highly recommend signing up for her biweekly new tutorials!  I look forward to checking out first thing in the morning before I even roll out of bed which flower she's picked to paint next.  She also paints other things as well.  Billy Showell's Penstemun tutorial

(Billy Showell's Penstemun)

 Again, this is another study I painted last year.  It's in my mixed media journal so you can see the page crinkles.  I don't think it's the best idea in the world to learn to paint watercolors using non-watercolor paper!  You're probably better off even if you use the cheapest watercolor paper available.  I just got started doing my journal as way to keep my color mixes for when I decided to paint a "real" painting on real watercolor paper (hotpress). 

{color mixes: Permanent Rose + Cadmium Red Deep + Quinacrodone Red and then add that mix to Quinacrodone Magenta, Used mix P.R + C.R.D +Q.R. and added Windsor Violet and then added more P.R. and then also added Alizarin Crimson, Opera Rose + Q.M., Lemon Yellow + Sap Green, S.G. + French Ultramarine Blue (D.S.)}


I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE poppies!  There are gazillions of seeds I have ordered and been given by friends that I hoard.  Too scared to put them out and have them fail to come up,.. I just sit there knowing I have such possibility in those tiny little seeds - if only I'd put them out in the dirt and let Mother Nature take over.  This is the year... i'm going to do it! 

A sweet grandmotherly type of woman who brings her pets into where I work (I'm a veterinary assistant) told me about her flowers that were in bloom last year.  I don't know why I asked her if she had any poppies and was completely surprised when she said she did and that they were in full bloom that very second!  Well,, as soon as work was finished I hightailed it to her house and you just can't imagine the look on my face when I walked up to here garden.  I believe my jaw truly dropped.

Oriental poppies were everywhere!  Almost as tall as I am.  Salmon, bright pink and pale pink and some with the seed pods standing straight staring me in the eye.  It was heaven.  See, this is the first time I've actually seen oriental poppies in real life!  I comensed to taking hundreds of photos and snipped off a few stems with blooms and the seed heads.   Tidbit: You're supposed to burn the cut stem as soon as you pick a poppy! 

I couldn't wait to begin painting! 

(this one is called a peony poppy)

Anna Mason has a brilliant tutorial on how to paint this very poppy.  It's wonderful to watch, especially helpful with the center and the amazing "bloom" on the seedpods. Wow! Anna Mason Poppy Tutorial
I was excited and nervous to paint all those little frills. This was completed last year and I'll definitely paint some poppies again this year (hopefully from out of my own garden!).  I hope to see much improvement with all I have learned throughout the past year. 

{color mixes:French Ultramarine Blue (D.S.) + Hansa Yellow medium (D.S)  + Cerulean Chromium(D.S.), Sap Green + F.U.B. (D.S.) and then add Transparent Mars Brown (Maimeri Blu), S.G. + U.B. + H.Y. M. (D.S.),  Cadmium Red Deep + Opera Rose, O.R. + Permanent Rose, Permanent Mauve, P.M + Bright Violet (Holbein), Goethite (D.S.) + Raw Umber and then add that mix along with C.R.D + F.U.B. + H.Y.M, Quinacrodone Gold (D.S.) + C.C (D.S) and then add that mix along with Jane's Gray (F.U.B. + Burnt Sienna)}

Saturday, March 25, 2017


Lupines are a tall, noble plant.  They take a couple of years to bloom (I'm pretty sure) if you grow them from seed.  Luckily for me, two of my brothers work for a landscaping company and their boss man is a nice guy who let me buy plants at wholesale price!  Whoohoo!  It was too late in the process to make my wish list of what to pick up for me..... but I at least got several lupines, some gorgeous irises and columbine for cheap! 
It was last summer when I painted this study.... I'm going to get caught up on all my previous studies (get them all here on the blog) so that soon I'll be painting, learning and sharing in real time. 
The lupine was FUN to paint and even just draw for that matter.  All those little bits tucked in just right.  It was like a puzzle.  This is one I look forward to repainting again this year.  It's not even April and one of the plants is already showing many leaves!   

(I love the fan shaped leaves)

(this was painted last year in my study book)
(I started a smaller study on actual watercolor paper but haven't finished it.  I wanted to see the difference of painting on mixed media paper as to real watercolor paper.  It's a world of difference but I still enjoy the mixed media paper.  It becomes a real "treat" when I actually decide to use "real" paper!)

(I'll include the color mixes when I get home)


I was looking forward to painting this zinnia because of all the different pink hues and especially the brown faded splotches!  I figured...