Flowers in Winter -- Two New Paintings and Dreams of the Garden

Since returning from my Creative Retreat, I've shared pages from my sketchbooks and peeks of pieces I've done on scraps of watercolor paper (one of my favorite ways to sketch and play and practice), but none of what I've shared has been "serious" art.

And although I did a lot of playing during January, I also completed a couple botanical watercolor paintings.

The wind chill was in double-digit negatives, but I couldn't resist bringing a little blooming orchid plant home from the store (zipping it up in my coat to shelter it from the cold on the way home).

Yes, I already had many -- I won't admit how many -- phalaenopsis orchids in my studio, but their buds haven't opened yet.

And I needed flowers.

orchids, houseplants, flower buds, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry


Until then, there will always be flowers on paper (this time aided by my new sweet plant).

watercolor, botanical watercolor, orchids, watercolor wreath, phalaenopsis, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I'm working on a non-flowery commission right now, but perhaps when I'm finished with it some of my other orchids will have opened. I have a vision for my next painting.

Possibly the hardest thing about winter for me is that I don't have a garden filled with flowers (and herbs and veggies) out the back door for inspiration.

Painting from photo inspiration just isn't the same. It lacks the connection I get when I'm sitting with a flower in front of me.

There are few things as joy-filled as bringing the garden into my studio.

An armload of flowers

peonies, garden inspiration, studio, artist studio, workspace, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

or a handful of tomatoes.

tomatoes, nasturtiums, summer flowers, botanical watercolor, watercolor painting, artist studio, artist workspace, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I know, I know. I have plenty of subjects to paint at any time of the year, but when I want flowers, nothing else will do.

                       "There are always flowers for those who want to see them."
                                                  --Henri Matisse

I always want to see them.

watercolor, roses, roses watercolor, watercolor wreath, botanical watercolor, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

This rose wreath painting was inspired by a sketch from last year.

watercolor, roses, roses watercolor, watercolor wreath, botanical watercolor, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Without looking at the date, I would have said the sketch was done in the garden in the summer, but I would have been wrong.

sketchbook, botanical sketchbook, botanical sketches, roses, rose wreath, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Apparently that one was also done in the depths of January, working from photos, my imagination and memory.

As much as I enjoy sketching like that, there are few things as magical as sitting in the garden with my sketchbook and micron pens, connecting with nature while I fill up a page.

That time will come.

Until then, I'll be in my studio. Dreaming and planning and painting and drawing and savoring the magic that exists all year long.

I hope you will be savoring, too.

p.s. both of these paintings are now available in my shop. You can find them here and here.


  1. I can picture you with your coat firmly zipped up sheltering your vulnerable little plant! I hope it will repay your kindness with lots of lovely blooms! Your new paintings are as pretty and delicate as I am used to seeing from you Anne. I too am looking forward to the days ahead and a garden full of blooms. I hope I can make it a reality this year! :)

    1. :)

      Thank you, Simone!

      And I hope this year's weather makes gardening a joy for us both!

  2. Your paintings are so gentle and serene, Anne. I, too, look forward to getting back to the garden and nurturing my flowers. Nothing brings me more joy. I wish I had your artistic talent so that I could capture them in their glory. Well, a photo will have to do, but it's not the same as a painting. Hugs, Nancy

    1. Thanks so much, Nancy! I think the best flowers of all aren't paintings or photographs, but the real thing. They bring us so much joy, don't they?

      I know you create your own beauty. You have such a talent for it, which is certainly an art!

  3. I know what you mean about needing flowers to paint from. I love your rose wreath. It is so delicate and beautiful!

    1. Thanks, Annie. Having real flowers there makes it so much more joyful. But we make do.

  4. that orchid wreath...gasp!

  5. All the paintings are delicately executed but I particularly like the orchid wreath. Have you ever shared your list of favorite paints, brushes, paper etc?

    1. Thanks so much! I've mentioned paints and papers in various posts, but it's a good idea to do a post about my favorites of each.

      I do share all of that in my Skillshare classes: in case you're interested. When you first sign up you can get 3 months for $.99 as a trial (after that it's $12/month if paid monthly or $8/month if you sign up for a whole year).

  6. They are so pretty Anne. Before you know it spring will be here and you will be enjoying your garden again.

    1. Thank you, Dana! We had a taste of spring and it felt so close! Today it's winter again, but I know it won't last.


Post a Comment