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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.)}


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A frustrating study on purples for an IRIS....

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Then the first assignment is to accurately measure and draw the front and back of at least four different rose petals.  Then transfer them to watercolor paper and paint them....ea…