painting a day -- day 15, rhododendrons

Yesterday's walk at Holden Arboretum got me thinking about rhododendrons.  I keep thinking about how magical it was to walk through the mountains of color, the dappled light filtering through the tall trees.

There were rhododendrons of just about every color imaginable. And the paths curved around bringing us to more and more beautiful spots.

Photos don't really capture it and it's hard to tell that these bushes are all taller than I am.

We've walked here many, many times over the years, but never have we made it at just the right time to see the rhododendrons in full, glorious bloom. And it was partly an accident that we ended up walking through this garden yesterday. After hiking our favorite paths through the woods, we wanted to visit Charlie's favorite pond to chase frogs.

And on the way there I realized that it would be the perfect time to see the rhododendrons in bloom. We also saw a water snake and these beautiful primroses.

So, inspired by all of yesterday's beauty, I decided to paint rhododendron flowers. I have two large bushes growing in front of the house.

While I was up there photographing the flowers and cutting some to bring inside, I had to check on the baby birds. Their nest is in one of the four double pink knockout rosebushes I planted in the front corner. We live on a corner and so they literally are on the corner, right up against the sidewalk.

Again, my attempts to photograph the little guys (who are getting quite large with funny, feathery hairdos now) were unsuccessful. I tried to be quick because the parent robins kept scolding me the whole time.

Wouldn't you want a nest in a rosebush if you were a bird? I know I would.

I worked quickly on this one and at first I thought I would only paint part of it, leaving some of the flowers as pencil sketches, but I soon realized that I should have spent little more time on my sketch. Its inaccuracy made painting a bit difficult. Ah, well. It's all practice. I also think I need to order more watercolor colors. My reds don't mix up into nice pinks, no matter what I do.


  1. Delighted to the core knowing you had such a good day at Holden Arboretum yesterday. Your own rhodies are amazing and I am constantly warmed to see how well you are painting. Your happiness and joy are riches for me.
    mr and mrs pheasant are back today, enjoying the breezes in the meadow just along the west side of the mound.
    And I discovered this morning that it is Rosie who is attempting to begin a nest. What would chicks look like with a Silver Polish dad and a Buff Orpington mom???

  2. That arboretum is stunning and inspiring. No wonder you wanted to paint your rhododendrons. Turned out lovely btw!

  3. I was literally gasping over your photos, Anne! Did you ever read Daphne Du Maurier's "Rebecca"? The rhododendrons reminded me of it.
    I love that painting!! I think it's very lovely!!
    Looking forward to tomorrow's post! ;)

  4. oh to walk through that pretty place and see all those flowers. And your painting? really really nice. I have never learned proper techniques with watercolor. I'll put that on the to do list for this year.

  5. What a gorgeous tour of the arboretum! I feel like I'm there :) Your painting is also wonderful and the perfect size to make into cards. Thank you for sharing your world with us.

  6. Beautiful photos. Lovely painting.



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