Saturday, October 26, 2013

Watercolor: Aquilegia canadensis

I have had the great honor again this year to create a botanical image for the Minnesota State Horticultural Society (MSHS) for its annual fundraiser. This year a native columbine was chosen.

This is the final painting of which prints will be made for those who participate in MSHS' annual appeal. I worked from photos of a columbine growing in a board members yard and from real columbines found on Mallard Island.  I painted the image while on Mallard Island for two weeks this summer. Fortunately, this summer was very late and some of these early summer flowers were still blooming on the Canadian border in late July - early August.

I love columbines and have tried painting them before, although I have not been happy with the results.  Columbine are a very lacy plant with a lot of interesting information spread over many stems.  I found the branching pattern very interesting with branches dividing into threes, with the middle branch blooming and ending at the bloom, while the two side branches would divide again and continue to create more blooms above the middle branch. There also are different shapes to the leaves when they are at different ages.  Young leaves  seem almost pointy while, the older the leaf gets, the more lobed it grows.

The blooms are also interesting because, unlike many flowers, the blooms are complete at a small size.  This means that you can see all the parts of the bloom even in its smallest bud.  Many other flowers unfold to reveal the parts of the bloom. The columbine is a very fascinating plant from its structure to its coloring.  It was fun to explore this plant and I thank the Minnesota State Horticultural Society for the opportunity.The image will appear in their November-December issue of the Northern Gardener Magazine, which will be in the mailbox and on stands soon.