obsessed with nasturtiums

If you follow me on Instagram you probably already know that I've been obsessed with nasturtiums lately. I can't help it. I love them.

They are quintessential summer. And the epitome of cottage charm. Joyful. Colorful. Fun. I love the way the leaves look like they belong to water lilies (and the way they collect perfect sparkling water droplets). I love that the flowers are edible and make good cut flowers (especially in a little vase by themselves).

They are so easy to grow, too.

It probably comes as no surprise that I would want to paint them. I did it last summer. I'll probably do it next summer, too.

Simply setting up to paint is such a pleasure. Cutting the flowers (and leaves). Mixing the paint. Painting my swatches of color. Sketching out the painting with pencil. It's my painting ritual. Then comes the harder part: sticking with the painting. Sometimes everything will start to look terrible in the middle stages and all I want to do is quit. The trick is to remind myself (again and again) that eventually everything will work out.

I had been planning on doing a botanical study but ended up doing a still life. The nasturtiums in their vase were just too pretty not to paint that way.

I decided to leave out the yellow one.

I was surprised by how much the flowers changed from day to day as I worked. The day after I did my sketch nothing matched because the flowers had straightened up on their stems overnight.

We were busy at the farm for some of the time that the painting was in progress and as painting stretched over days I had to keep cutting new flowers.

It all worked out in the end and I'm pleased with how the painting turned out.

But I was a little sad that I hadn't painted any leaves and I was especially intrigued by the idea of painting a tangle of twisty stems.

So with a vague image in my head of somewhat stylized, gracefully twisting vines, I pulled out my largest paper and immediately started on another painting.

In the beginning I had to fight a lot of resistance with this one, but once I made myself sit at my table and just keep painting I fell into the groove.

You can see that my leaf models were beginning to look a bit stressed by that point, but if you look carefully you can see roots forming.

Just sitting there in the glass of water the stems sprouted roots. I think I'll try to plant them in some of the holes where nothing came up in my cinder block raised beds.

They're so much fun growing there.

As for the painting. I think this one is my favorite yet.

What about you? Do you grow and love nasturtiums, too?


  1. just looking at your painting (process, completion, subject) brings me joy . . .

  2. Both paintings are equally beautiful Anne. You have certainly mastered the art of water colour painting. I didn't grow nasturtiums this year but I do love them.

  3. You know I dooo ;)
    Lovely work.

  4. Your paintings capture the nasturtiums beautifully, so charming! I love the leaves too, like little green parasols. I like adding the petals in salads because of their bright colors.

  5. They are so pretty and cheery Anne. You did a great job!

  6. We love nasturtiums here too, and plant them every year. Gretta was the master planter and had a magic touch. Now she lives in far away Brooklyn and I think the nasturtiums miss her. They have not flourished as they used to. Your paintings are magical, Anne, and will bring someone joy in the darkest days of winter. :-)

  7. I love your paintings. Beautiful work, Anne.


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