Where to start

I’m determined to paint all of the bouquets I receive this summer from Ferme Tournesol. This is the fourth. Each one is a challenge because of the variety of flower shapes and colours. In each bouquet there are flowers I’ve never seen before, so the Plant Snap app on my phone comes in handy. A quick photo and I get the name! On the weekend I also brought home a few zinnias from my friend Alison’s splendid garden, so I added those in as well.

I’m never really sure where to start the drawing for something this complex. The sensible place might be to start with the big zinnias at the bottom of the bouquet, but I did something a little different today. I started at the top. I wanted to make sure I got in the tiny flowers at the top of the bouquet, so I drew those first and worked my way downward. Of course that can end up being problematic if you don’t leave enough room for the rest of the flowers, or if you end up stopping the bouquet in an awkward spot, but I was working on a longish pad of Arches paper so I managed to get it all in. I have two or three more bouquets left from the farmers in the coming weeks and then it will be back to grocery store blooms for me.

33 Comments on “Where to start”

  1. Sheryl says:

    This is LOVELY. Anyone could mistake it for a Charles Reid painting. Did he influence your style? Your description is appreciated, too. That is a lot to paint……


    • HI Sheryl. Charles Reid is definitely a huge inspiration for me when I paint flowers. I have been reading his books for years and my big regret is that I never took a workshop with him when he was around. Thanks for writing!


      • Sheryl says:

        I have a friend who took a workshop with Mr. Reid. She said he painted very deliberately, but the vertical paper made it drip and run and look so loose. Yes, he is missed. Your work is very inspirational. Thanks for all you do.


  2. Roben says:

    Any more online classes coming soon ?


  3. RooiPing Lim says:

    Charles Reid comes to mind.. yours better ! Flowers next course!!???


  4. murraylh says:

    This is really gorgeous!Sent via the Samsung Galaxy S9, an AT&T 5G Evolution capable smartphone


  5. Denise says:

    This is awesome! Love how the backwash “blossoms” work in the bouquet. As always, your greens amaze me.


  6. Colorful ,exciting, random “au naturel”. So much to see and look again and again. Love your technique(s).


  7. Nicole Fortier says:



  8. Laurel says:

    I love the way you pint the vase, I too hope the next course is flowers.


  9. Bernadette says:

    Wow, what a beauty!


  10. Jane Hannah says:

    Omg! So beautiful Shari — takes my breath away.


  11. Chris Rusk says:

    Elegant. Your blossoms are so ‘alive’!


  12. Jane Hannah says:

    And very happy that flowers are next -)))


  13. Rita Cleary says:

    Gorgeous, Shari!


  14. okaypolliwog says:

    An exceptionally nice one, Shari! You did an awesome job with the lighting on the orange zinnia in the front.




  15. stacey says:

    wow that’s beautiful!


  16. stephanie says:

    Hi Shari!
    Please please please do a class on flower bouquets!
    Stephanie Defanti


  17. Despite not knowing where to start, you finished with a bang, so to speak. As you know, I love all your flower paintings. But this one is particularly spectacular. I was struck by the three large background shapes, the overall composition, the flow of the myriad greens, the great volume of the bouquet, and the wonderful life in the blooms. When I squint and look at this I appreciate even more the composition and the abstract qualities in this painting. This is a masterpiece in my eyes.
    (I’m glad you picked the big orange zinnia 😀)


  18. Leslie Blackwell says:



  19. Nieves says:

    Wonderful painting ! So exited that you are planning a flower watercolor course, I was waiting for that.


  20. Bill says:

    Beautiful painting. You said you are never sure where to begin something this complex. Do you ever use thumbnails? If not, why?


  21. joantav says:

    I love the variety of flowers you are getting in these bouquets, and the wonderful variation on the heights of the flowers. Each one is better than the one before!!


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