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Flower Watercolors - Ralph F. Wilson

One of my favorite subjects is flowers. Their subtle shapes and colors are fascinating. Here are some of my paintings.

Click on the thumbnail picture or title to see a larger image. To inquire about purchasing a painting, please contact the artist.


lavender-bluebells-14x20-150220.jpg Watercolor: Lavender Bluebells - 14" x 20"
I found these blue-bells growing alongside the San Lorenzo River in Felton, CA several years ago. This painting uses very few brush strokes, but was done by masking and pouring primary colors. Watercolor, 14" x 20". Exhibited at the 2015 "Awash with Color" WASH members show, Sacramento Fine Arts Center, March 31 to April 18, 2015, where it won "Honorable Mention."

soft-dogwood.jpg Watercolor: Soft Dogwood (14" x 20")
This picture was made by masking the lightest colors and pouring primary colors (red, blue, yellow) in various parts of the painting, allowing it to mix, then pouring it off. This process as repeated four additional times, then the centers and veins in the flowers were touched up by brush. Watercolor, 14" x 20". Exhibited at the 2015 "Awash with Color" WASH members show, Sacramento Fine Arts Center, March 31 to April 18, 2015. Exhibited at the Placer County Fair, June 25-28, 2015, where it won first place in the watercolor category.

   
autumn-backlit.jpg Watercolor: Autumn Backlit (10.5" x 10.5")
This was inspired by backlit Big Leaf Maple leaves I saw in Guerneville, along the Russian River in early June 2013. But they seemed much more interesting in fall colors than the light green of early summer. Watercolor, 140 lb rough Arches paper. 10.5" x 10.5". Shown at the Rocklin Fine Arts 2014 Snowflake Exhibition, Feb 8-9, 2014. Exhibited at the Placer County Fair, June 25-28, 2015.

   
chinese-hanging-tiger-lilies.jpg Watercolor: Chinese Hanging Tiger Lilies (14.5" x 10.5")
When we were at England's Hidcote Gardens in August 2009 we saw these fantastic lilies. They are Henry's Lily (Lilium henryi), sometimes called a Tiger Lily. They are found in the mountains of central China. Exhibited at the Chocolate Shoppe as part of the Auburn Art Walk on April 10, 2014. Watercolor, 14.5" x 10.5"

   
purple-leaf-plum-blossoms.jpg Watercolor: Purple-Leaf Plum Blossoms (14" x 20")
There's noting more beautiful than the delicacy of back-lit fruit tree blossoms in the early spring. This is from a Purple-Leaf Plum Blossom growing on Gold Trail near our home. The sheaves of red are the leaf buds just ready to start opening. 14" x 20". Watercolor.

   
yellow-iris.jpg Watercolor: Yellow Iris (20" x 14.5")
Inspired by an iris in our front yard, April 2013. Won "First Award" at Sonja Hamilton's class final day, April 30, 2013, Placer Adult School. 14x20" Exhibited at the Placer County Fair, June 20-23, 2013 where it won 1st place in watercolor and Best of Division for the 2-dimensional art division. Accepted for exhibition in the juried 2013 WASH Open Show at the Sacramento Fine Art Center, September 3-28, 2013. Exhibited at the juried Placer Art League Open Show at the Lincoln Art Center, July 2 thru Aug 2, 2014.

   
yellow-rose.jpg Watercolor: Yellow Rose (20" x 14")
The beauty of a back-lit open yellow rose growing outside our dining room window. 20" x 14". Watercolor.

   
pink-rose.jpg Watercolor: Pink Rose (20" x 14")
This rose is from Jean's garden. Watercolor. 20x14.

purple-iris.jpg Watercolor: Purple Iris (10.5" x 11")
"Purple Iris." The beautiful irises of spring bloomed early this year, but their memory is not forgotten on this first day of June at 95 degrees. I found this striking purple iris at a local nursery. Watercolor, 10.5" x 11"

pink-rose-2.jpg Watercolor: Pink Rose 2
I love backlit roses. This one was a delicate pink in Jean's garden. I experimented painting on #140 cold press Moulin de Roi watercolor paper. It worked fine. Watercolor, 14.5" x 10.5"

red-orange-calla-lilies.jpg Watercolor: Red-Orange Calla Lilies (10.5"x14.5")
When I found these Calla Lilies at a local nursery, I was struck by both their colors and shapes. Watercolor, 10.5" x 14.5".

bouquet-tureen.jpg Watercolor: Bouquet in a Gravy Tureen (9"x6")
We have such lovely roses. Here are a few I cut and then put in a white gravy tureen. Completed on the plane from Amsterdam to Nairobi. Watercolor, 9" x 6".

sunflower-6x9.jpg Watercolor: Sunflower (6"x9")
This is from a photograph taken in Jean's garden several years ago. Completed on the plane from Los Angeles to Amsterdam. Watercolor, 6" x 9".

pink-crysanthemum-141127.jpg Watercolor: Golden Center - Pink Chrysanthemum, 20" x 14"
I spent part of Thanksgiving Day at our family get-together in Forest Hill, CA working on this beautiful pink chrysanthemum with a yellow center. Watercolor, 20"x 14". 'Golden Center - Pink Chrysanthemum' was juried onto Magnum Opus XXVII, Sacramento Fine Arts Center's Annual Open Show, July 19-August 13, 2016.

   
glowing-easter-tulips.jpg Watercolor: Glowing Easter Tulips (10.5" x 10.5")
I saw these backlit tulips at a nursery, and found them perfect for an Easter painting. Watercolor. 10.5" x 10.5"

   
alstromeria-peruvian-lily.jpg Watercolor: Alstromeria - Peruvian Lilies (10.5" x 14.5")
I found these bright crimson flowers at a local nursery, and enjoyed their loud trumpeting of spring. Watercolor. 10.5" x 14.5"

year-of-the-poppy-2014.jpg Watercolor: Year of the Poppy - 2014, 20" x 14"
The spring of 2014 was certainly the most robust California Poppy exhibition I have seen in my memory. We saw fields of poppies! This painting is to commemorate that year. Watercolor, 20" x 14".

Watercolor: Prickly Milk Thistle - 20"x14"
Prickly beauty up close. I started by masking the whites, then painting the colorful background rather wet, with the brushstrokes simulating the surrounding grasses. Fun. Watercolor, 20" x 14". Exhibited in the Placer Artists League Open Juried Show, Auburn, June 2-20, 2015.

sunflower2.jpg Watercolor: Sunflower 2 - 14.5" x 14.5"
Jean planted a few sunflowers in her garden this summer. These were smaller than some, but a warmer, orange yellow color. Watercolor, 14.5" x 14.5"

queen-annes-lace.jpg Watercolor: Queen Anne's Lace - 14.5" x 9.5"
These delicate flowers were growing in our left-to-die lawn this summer in the drought. It's hard to capture the fine delicacy of the flowers in this umbel. The flower is also known as Daucus carota, wild carrot, bird's nest, and bishop's lace. Watercolor, 14.5" x 9.5".

peach-pink-rose.jpg Watercolor: Peach-Pink Rose - 20" x 14"
Jean has lots of roses blossoming all summer. The delicacy of this rose's peachy color was too much to pass up. Besides, after painting a series of bluegrass musicians, this was a whole lot easier. :-) Watercolor, 20" x 14."

pink-yellow-rose.jpg Watercolor: Glory in Delicate Petals - 14" x 14"
Summer at our house is flush with beautiful roses. This delicate pink rose with a yellow center captured my attention with its radiance. Watercolor, 14" x 14".

parrot-tulips-delft.jpg Watercolor: Parrot Tulips, Delft, Holland - 14.5" x 14.5"
When I was visiting Delft, Netherlands, in September 2014, I saw these beautiful Parrot Tulips along the street. They are (apparently) Estella Rijnveld variety of parrot tulips. Parrot tulips are known for their showy fringed and scalloped plumage and striations. Watercolor, 14.5" x 14.5".

abelia.jpg Watercolor: Delicate Abelia - 14.5" x 10.5"
One of Jean's flowering shrubs is this delicate Abelia. Its trumpet-shaped blossoms are only about 1/2" to 3/4" long. In the spring, I admire it every time I walk the path to our back door. Watercolor, 14.5" x 10.5"

pink-orange-rosebud.jpg Watercolor: Pink-Orange Rosebud 10.5" x 10.5"
Here's an early spring rose from our garden just opening up. Watercolor, 10.5" x 10.5".

fiddleneck.jpg Watercolor: Fiddleneck (6.5" x 14.5")
Fiddleneck (Amsinckia menziesii, Rancher's Fireweed) is one of the first wildflowers our on our property each spring. It's called Fiddleneck because the flower head looks like the neck of a fiddle, flowering first at the end and gradually unwinding. My challenge was to paint this rather plain, leggy plant with an interesting composition. Watercolor, 6.5" x 14.5"

yellow-mustard.jpg Watercolor: Yellow Mustard (10.5" x 14.5")
In April the fields of Central California are bright with Yellow Mustard (Field Mustard, Brassica campestris, or B. rapa Jepson). In some parts of the wrold, the condiment mustard is made from grinding the seeds with oil. I used lots of masking fluid to get the background as even as I could. Watercolor, 10.5" x 14.5."

red-rose-fullon.jpg Watercolor: Full-on Red Rose - 14.5" x 14.5"
I'm fascinated by the internal folds and shadows in this red rose. This painting was exhibited in the "Awash with Color: WASH Member Show," at the Sacramento Fine Arts Center, April 4-23, 2017. Watercolor, 14.5" x 14.5".

purple-white-iris.jpg Watercolor: Purple-White Iris - 12" x 9"
This beauty is painted with transparent watercolor paints directly on 8 oz artist's canvas as an experiment. Brilliant colors, but since the water beads up, little subtlety is possible. Watercolor on canvas, 12" x 9".

yellow-white-iris.jpg Watercolor: Yellow-White Iris - 9" x 12"
Painted with transparent watercolor paints directly on 8 oz artist's canvas as an experiment. Watercolor on canvas, 9" x 12".

feverfew.jpg Watercolor: Feverfew - 14.5" x 10.5"
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We have thousands of Feverfew flowers in Jean's garden during May and June. Tanacetum parthenium has many tiny, delicate, daisy-type flowers, but here I captured a few and enlarged them. Feverfew makes great daisy-chain circlets for your hair. Or 'might' keep your migraines from being as severe or reduce fevers. This painting was exhibited in the juried "Go with the Flow" WASH Open Show at Sacramento Fine Arts Center, September 6 to October 1, 2016. Watercolor 14.5" x 10.5".

foxglove.jpg Watercolor: Foxglove - 14" x 20"
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I love the bold colors and spots of the foxglove. This one was tipped at an angle for effect. Watercolor, 20" x 14".

waterlily.jpg Watercolor: Water Lily - 20" x 14"
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When we went to the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco to celebrate my cousins' 50th Wedding Anniversary, I spotted this gorgeous water lily in one of the ponds. Watercolor, 20" x 14".

yellow-day-lilies.jpg Watercolor: Yellow Day Lilies - 10.5" x 14.5"
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I've focused on two flowers, but the masses of yellow day lilies you see in landscaping is powerful. Watercolor, 10.5" x 14.5"

magenta-lily.jpg Watercolor: Magenta Lily - 14.5" x 14.5"
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While I was laid up with a broken ankle, Jean took some stunning photos of a magenta lily that I couldn't resist painting. Watercolor, 14.5" x 14.5"

sunflower-hummingbird.jpg Watercolor: Sunflower Hummingbird - 10.5" x 10.5"
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This painting is from a photo I took at least five years ago of one of Jean's huge sunflowers. And I was able to catch a Black-Chinned Hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri) in the photo and in the painting. Watercolor, 10.5" x 10.5"

coast-rhododendron-adalea.jpg Watercolor: Coast Rhododendron Azalea - 14.5" x 10.5"
Several years ago I took photos of Azaleas or Coast Rhododendron () among the redwoods at Mt. Hermon Conference Center, near Felton, Califonia. They have such graceful stamens and pistil. I painted this on very rough, very absorbent, heavy handmade paper. I don't think I'll use this paper again, because it's so unforgiving. Watercolor, 14.5" x 10.5".

tiger-lily.jpg Watercolor: Tiger Lily in the Sun - 14.5" x 14.5"
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This brilliant tiger lily is from a photo I took with the flower in full sun. I purposely used a purple background that is a near complement to the yellow and orange of the flower. Watercolor, 14.5" x 14.5".

mothers-day-tulips.jpg Watercolor: Mother's Day Tulips - 14.5" x 10.5"
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This year Jean received a bouquet of pink tulips for Mother's Day. I couldn't resist painting them. And now, though they've faded and have been discarded, their beauty lives on. I tried a new color -- Daniel Smith Bordeaux -- and really like it. There's also a touch of Holbein Opera to brighten it up. Happy Spring! Watercolor, 14.5" x 10.5".

Yucca Spikes 20x20 Watercolor: Yucca Spikes - 20" x 20"
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This May, a neighbor had three yucca plants in full flower that I just had to paint. For this I used a pouring technique with three primary colors: thalo blue (green shade), new gamboge, and quinacridone red. This painting is exhibited in the juried 2017 WASH "Go with the Flow" Open Show, Sep 6-Oct 1, 2017 at Sacramento Fine Arts Center. Watercolor, 20" x 20".

LiliesoftheField-IthurielsSpear-14.5x10.5-170710.jpg Watercolor: Lilies of the Fields - Ithuriel's Spear - 14.5" x 10.5"
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One of my favorite spring wildflowers on our property is Itheriel's Spear or Wally Basket (Triteleia laxa), in the Amarilis family. The flowers appear in umbels, and are beautiful, their blue purple blossoms contrasting with the drying grasses around them. Photographing it is hard, since my camera doesn't like to focus on thin objects. Watercolor, 14.5" x 10.5".

RosesAreRed-10.5x10.5-170710.jpg Watercolor: Roses Are Red - 10.5" x 10.5"
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By now I've painted many roses. Instead of precision with each petal, I tried to give a general feeling without a lot of interior hard edges. I'm not sure I like it, but it IS red! Watercolor, 10.5" x 10.5".

Yellow-WhiteIrisonBlue-5x7-170815.jpg Watercolor: Yellow-White Iris on Blue - 5" x 7"
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Here's a small experiment in sketching and coloring a delicate iris fairly quickly. I started with a dark thalo blue background. Then added yellow and then delicate shadows. I was pleased with the result for the little time invested. Watercolor, 5" x 7".

DroopingSunflower-12x9-170815.jpg Watercolor: Drooping Sunflower - 12" x 9"
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What I learned from this sketch was to get the darks dark enough. My two previous attempts at sunflowers look washed out by comparison. Watercolor, 12" x 9".

Canna-5x7-170820.jpg Watercolor: Canna Flowers - 5" x 7"
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Jean had planted these rhizomes a few months ago, but in late August 2017 they are in full, intense flower. I painted small (5x7), but thoroughly enjoyed sketching the plant's typical flower appearance, then painting it within about an hour and a half. Fun! 170820. Watercolor, 5" x 7".

ProudSunflowers-8x8-180728.jpg Watercolor: Proud Sunflowers (8" x 8")
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As I was driving by the Loomis Methodist Church community garden I was struck by the wonderful sunflowers reaching up to the sky. There's something in-your-face about sunflowers; that's why they're so much fun to paint. One of the 31 paintings in the 31 days of July challenge that I painted during the 2018 World Watercolor Month. 180728. Watercolor, 8" x 8".

UnfoldingRose-8x8-180731.jpg Watercolor: Unfolding Rose - 8" x 8"
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I painted this same rose in April 2016, but here's another try, this time using a white background. I think I'll do another in the series as well. One of the 31 paintings in the 31 days of July challenge that I painted during the 2018 World Watercolor Month. 180731. Watercolor, 8" x 8".

PoinsettiaintheSun-14x10-190109.jpg Watercolor: Poinsettia in the Sun - 14" x 10"
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On New Year's Day at 9 am, the Christmas Poinsettia in my mother-in-law's living room window was aglow with light, with the beautiful leaves back-lit. I couldn't help but try to paint it. I'm using a stained glass window motif, to see how that might work with this subject. The brilliant red-orange I used was W&N Scarlet Lake, along with reds Quinacridone Red, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, and some Daniel Smith Bordeaux. 190109. Watercolor and ink, 14" x 10".

CherryBlossoms-10x14-190320.jpg Watercolor: Cherry Blossoms - 10" x 14"
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Spring is springing and I couldn't resist finding a cherry blossom photo and painting it. 190321. 10" x 14".



Ralph F. Wilson Watercolors
P.O. Box 565, Loomis, California 95650
phone (916) 652-4659
E-mail Ralph