In the Studio: Painting Houseplants (again)

In autumn when my garden slips into sleep, my attention turns to the plants growing inside. Not just tending them, but painting them, too. Potted plants are deeply ingrained in my psyche. (I shared a bit about that here). I can't live without plants growing near my windows. They are friendly. Joyful. And near the beginning of my painting journey they became subjects in my art.

I have painted a lot of houseplants over the years (you can see some of them in my portfolio here) and I'm sure that I'll be painting many more. They call to me. Their shapes. Their colors. Their flowers. Their personalities. Maybe that makes me a crazy plant lady. But I'm ok with that.

In September I painted a few tiny houseplant portraits as part of my daily painting project,

houseplant portraits, watercolor paintings, botanical watercolor, potted plants, clay pots, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

but I hadn't painted a full-size houseplant portrait since May. It was about time.

Which plant would catch my eye and be the first of the season's houseplant portraits?

One that has called to me again and again. Because of its dramatic color. Because of its dynamic stems and leaves (its stems literally move throughout the day and the leaves open and close every morning and evening).

watercolor painting, watercolor leaves, purple leaves, watercolor oxalis, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Did you guess it?

Oh those purples. I can't resist.

This time I made my purples even deeper than I have in the past. I mixed four of them. Varying tones, bluish, pink, red.

watercolor oxalis, houseplant portrait, watercolor houseplant, plant painting, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

This one might be my favorite yet. I experimented with the pot. Being less precise. Letting the paint bloom and move on its own, instead of trying to reign it in. I like its imperfection and it's something I want to experiment with more in coming paintings.

Although this new oxalis might be my favorite of all my renderings of the plant, I still love the others.

This one in the mint bowl.*

 And this one with imaginary butterflies.*

Oh, and in case you're curious and want a glimpse of where my art started, you can see my first oxalis painting here. Sometimes I'm a little embarrassed to think about the fact that all of my early, awkward paintings are still here on this blog. But other times I think that maybe seeing how far I've come will inspire someone to listen to that secret yearning to paint. Maybe that's you?

Just as I stepped out of Black Friday, I'm also not offering any Cyber Monday sales. I do have something special planned for my newsletter subscribers that will be going out this week. If you haven't signed up yet, you can do it here.

Have a wonderful week! I'll be back on Wednesday with what might be my favorite 2x2 Sketchbook spread yet and on Friday I'm hosting an Artist Interview that you won't want to miss!

*(Both are also available as archival prints here and here).


  1. The flowers have so much depth of colour! They look almost animated with their wavy stems. In the last photo it looks as though the petals have flown from the pot and turned into butterflies!!!! Wonderful! Have a great week Anne. :-)

    1. Thank you, Simone! It's fun to be getting back to painting houseplants.

      Hope your week is wonderful, too!

  2. It's so nice to see all of your oxalis plants. And great to see your first painting of one. You've grown tremendously as an artist. Bravo!

    1. Thank you, Dana! Sometimes it's good to get a reminder of how far I've come.


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