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The Queen of Flowers: a giant Sunflower!

The Queen of Flowers
“The Queen of Flowers”

The Queen of Flowers is a giant Sunflower! I absolutely love giant Sunflowers and I painted this pastel painting of the tallest sunflower I’ve ever grown. It’s over 11′ tall! Most of the Sunflowers are finished for the season and are full of seeds. Soon, the resident squirrel will figure out there’s seeds to be had and will be climbing the stalks to get his treats.

Sunflowers are fun to paint and I did a few in oils, which you can view here. This giant Sunflower was really fun to paint in pastel. It is painted on PastelMat paper with soft pastels and is about 9″x9″ in size. (The watermark is not on the painting.) I think these giants deserve the name The Queen of Flowers!

Sunflowers

I’ve been busy with the end of summer garden chores like harvesting tomatoes and making pots of tomato sauce. Soon I’ll be digging up the potatoes and this week I dug up a big bag full of onions. It’s also time to plant garlic so that will be another garden chore to complete.

It’s so much fun to grow veggies! But this year was kind of weird in that we had an early onset of extreme heat and no rain all summer. Combined with extremely smokey days from surrounding wildfires, the lack of sunlight and intense heat did a number on all my plants, including the flower garden. My squash plants quit producing female flowers early and my rose bushes and Clematis vine didn’t produce flowers either until a few weeks ago when it cooled off. The only plants that did well were the tomato plants because they like heat. I’m hoping there will be a decent crop of potatoes.

I didn’t get in many adventures this summer because of the weather situation and the smoke. I love to paint plein air but this year that wasn’t in the cards. I’m hopeful this smoke will clear out soon! It’s so disparaging to not be able to see more than three miles and yet it’s not fog and it’s hot.

I hope you had a great summer! I’m ready for fall. How about you? Much Love and Blessings to you ~ Rhonda

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Mona Lisa Stargazer Lily

Summer is winding down and so are the Lillies in my flower garden. Before they were gone I painted a Mona Lisa Stargazer Lily in pastel. They are beautiful Lillies! Here’s a peek in the garden:

Stargazer Lillies

This is the second year of growth for these Mona Lisa Stargazer Lillies so they haven’t spread much. Their fragrance is mild compared to the Orienpet Lillies I shared in my previous post. The Lillies are a vibrant pink with splashes of deep red and are relatively low growing.

I picked a lily and put it in a small vase and it looked so cute I just had to paint it. I placed it under a strong light source and used some pan pastels on Art Spectrum Colourfix paper to start. The pan pastels perform really well on this paper but hard and soft pastels not so much. I am not a fan of pan pastels because of the extreme softness and I’m not able to achieve the more finished look I prefer in my art. So, I used soft pastels to finish the painting and it was a bit of a challenge due to the roughness of the paper. Here’s my little still life set up:

Pan Pastels and Stargazer Lily

The light source is just above and to the left. I use the table to sort out the pan pastels since there’s plenty of room. I took a photo of the lily before I began painting because the flowers wilt pretty quickly, and used both the photo reference and the actual flower for my painting information.

Stargazer Lily Pastel Painting

Mona Lisa Stargazer Lily was painted on white Colourfix pastel paper and is about 8.75″ x 8.75″ in size. The Tamarack Mountain Studio watermark is not on the original painting. I can see where I might want to rework the foreground a little bit and bring the yellow hues into the right side of the painting some more. Otherwise I think this piece came out lovely!

Thanks for your time in stopping by! Much Love ~ Rhonda!

  • Stargazer Lily Pastel Painting
  • Poinsettia Pastel
  • White Lily Pastel Painting
  • Chives Pastel
  • Late Morning Orienpet Lily pastel painting
  • White Orienpet Lily Pastel
  • Bearded Iris pastel

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Late Morning Orienpet Lillies

These last few weeks I’ve been working on and off on a few pastel paintings of my Late Morning Orienpet Lillies. Mine are of the Alusta Hybrid variety. This year was spectacular and there were around 12 stalks of plants, since they spread every year. Here’s a pic of the garden in full bloom:


Late Morning Orienpet Lillies

The flower garden is mostly bulbs and there are three rose bushes and a Clematis vine. The Late Morning Orienpet Lillies put on a beautiful show for about two weeks and the fragrance is out of this world! So every year I make a painting that captures their essence and beauty. This is the first pastel painting of the two Lily’s painted:


White Orienpet Lily Pastel

“White Orienpet Lily” Pastel is painted with soft pastels on light green PastelMat paper and is about 6″x9″. The Lilys have short stems and when they are put in a vase they tend to lean to one side of the vase. I chose a 3/4 view for this piece and just depicted the top edge of the vase because of the way the Lily was situated.

 Late Morning Orienpet Lilies

This is the second pastel in the series and I chose a front view for this piece. “Late Morning Orienpet Lily” was painted with soft pastels on Art Spectrum Colourfix white paper. The Colourfix paper is a new paper for me and I do not care for it. The surface is so rough it chews up the pastels quickly! Then it doesn’t hold many layers very well so I struggled with this painting a lot.

I painted a watercolor underpainting first and that all worked well. Then I used pan pastels to bring in some initial colors and the paper works great with pan pastels. But that’s about it. It even chews up the pan pastel sponges. I’m not a huge fan of pan pastels because they create very soft looking imagery. I need to play with them a lot more to see where they will be best used, so I used them sparingly on this piece and opted for my soft pastels instead.

I am pleased with how both paintings came out especially considering the struggles with the new paper on the second painting. I focused on being “playful and loose” as some artists would say, even though its not really my style. I think I was able to pull it off and I like the overall look of both pieces.

The Lillies are gone now. They are the highlight of our summer and all the neighbors come by to admire their fragrance and beauty. This year I found out what their true name is, Late Morning Orienpet Lily after doing an extensive search online. I always just called them white Lillies, even though they aren’t completely white. They are mostly an ivory white with yellow inside and light green on the outside along the veins leading to the stem. When the sun shines on the petals in just the right way, the ivory hue looks like a brilliant white. I just adore these flowers and am always sad when they are gone.

I’ll be back soon with a Stargazer Lily painting. Thanks for taking time to read my post! Much Love ~Rhonda


  • Bearded Iris pastel
  • White Lily Pastel Painting
  • Poinsettia Pastel
  • White Orienpet Lily Pastel
  • Late Morning Orienpet Lily pastel painting

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Pink Roses Pastel Painting

My flower garden is in full bloom with rose and Lillies of all sorts! It smells so wonderful and all the colors are a treat for the eyes! So here is my first floral painting of the year, called Pink Roses Pastel Painting.

Last week I picked some of my pink roses and brought them inside to enjoy, because they were suffering in the heat. It was really hot outside, in fact unusually hot for our area. We have been having some extreme hot temperatures for the last few weeks, so I have stayed inside! I’m not a fan of extremes in temperature, especially heat. It was the perfect time to do some still life paintings and pink roses made a great subject! So I thought.


Pink Roses Pastel Painting

It’s been awhile since I have painted floral genre and I’m out of practice. Needless to say this pink roses pastel painting was a challenge for me. As I look at the photo of the painting, I see lots of areas that could be improved, but I’m going to leave it as is and call it a learning piece.

I used wine Pastelmat paper that was 9″x12″ in size and soft pastels. After blocking in my sketch I set out to paint and after a few hours I was really unhappy with the way things were going. I took the paper off the easel and threw it in the trash. After taking a break, I came back in the studio and took the painting out of the trash and taped it back on the easel. I decided to use a brush and water to paint out what I had done, and create and under painting. Taking out my frustrations on the painting with water was great fun. I left it to dry and called it a day.

The next morning I turned on the easel light and was surprised to see that the painting could be salvaged and I could see a path forward. So, again, I played with textures and edges and ended up enjoying the process. I worked on staying loose and not blending the pastel.

Roses have always been hard for me to depict in a painting so now the challenge is on! I’ve got to figure this out! Pink is also a difficult color to portray especially in pastel, so maybe I’ll try some of my other roses that have red and orange in them. For now, I’m taking a break from roses and will sneak up on them another day.


Currently on my still life table is a white Lilly from the flower garden. I’m painting it in pastel and it’s coming along okay. The flower smells wonderful!

White Lilly

I’ve painted these Lillies in oils mostly, and created one pastel last year that came out great. I’m haunted by these beautiful flowers and every year I have to paint them. They only last a few weeks, so now is the time to capture their beauty, if at all possible.

I’ll be back soon to show you how the painting turned out. I hope I don’t wreck it! I am struggling with what color to make the background. White isn’t going to work, so I’ll have to invent something. I was thinking I’d make a high key painting by placing the flower on a white background, but now I wonder if that was a good decision. I’ll need to play around and see what happens.

Much love ~ Rhonda