Friday, February 17, 2012


10.5 x 13.5 inches
watercolor on paper

Gone green lately.  Have been a bit busy in the garden.  And congratulate me, only half the plants I have repotted keeled over.  That is quite an improvement from my 007 status in the plant world.  I also got bougainvilleas in multi-colors so you can probably guess what my next projects will be.  And yes, the bougainvilleas are expected to survive 100%, I was only allowed to watch when they were being replanted in the bigger pots.  :D

About the painting's title "Saging-sagingan", literally translated it means mock bananas or fake bananas.  It is the local name for the plant Heliconia psittacorum (also known as false bird-of-paradise, parrot's beak).  I noticed ever since being told the local name, I can't see the parrot's beak anymore but keep seeing bananas, bananas.  The leaves of the plant also look like banana leaves growing upright from the ground.

For this painting, again, I used a limited palette and used the whiteness of the paper to get lighter colors.  One advantage of using a limited color palette is it makes it easy to achieve cohesiveness in your paintings.  For example, to get a darker green I added a bit of violet to the sap green.  For other parts of the leaves, I added orange or red to the green to get different shades of green.  For the shadings in the "bananas", I used mixtures of green and blue.  The red got darker or lighter with the addition of violet and orange, etc. Even though the colors look distinctly blue, distinctly green, distinctly red or yellow, they have parts of the other colors in them that later when you take it all in together, you know the colors fit.

My palette for this painting:
(W&N)  permanent rose, Winsor yellow, Winsor orange, permanent sap green, Winsor green, cobalt blue, cerulean blue and Winsor violet.

Thank you for dropping in.


  1. This is like a breath of springtime! Beautiful colors.

  2. Hi Christiane! Thank you my friend. You know how they say your mood can affect your paintings? It seems to work the other way around too. I deliberately stayed away from a darker background for this one and it did lift my mood. :D

  3. What a fascinating-looking plant! Well done, Karen.

  4. What a master of the media. I always enjoy seeing your art.

  5. Hi Karen. I'm new to following your blog. Your work is truly wonderful. Have you had formal botanical art training? Your work looks like you do.

  6. Kathryn, thank you. Am into tropical plants now. Waiting for our jade vine to go full bloom.

    Stan, always a pleasure seeing you. Thank you my friend. Hi to dear Jan.

    Kathleen, Hi. Thank you very much. I take that as a compliment. No formal training in botanical art though. Just a love for flowers and lots of patience. I usually paint my florals against a darker colored background. For this one, I decided to go lighter. The camera was not able to capture the subtle shading in the background and it looks unpainted giving this a botanical print look. It is giving me ideas.

  7. Both light or dark backgrounds have different effects and both are lovely. The white (or light) backgrounds put more emphasis on the flower and plant itself. The dark backgrounds show the dramatic and more emotional side of the flower. I love both ways!

    Isn't it great that we artists have so many choices on how to portray a subject!