Bulbs 72-182: a race to the finish line

Yesterday I finished my spring bulb concertina sketchbook! Of the 200 I planted, 182 flowered, and I think I drew them all. It was a little crazy at the end of the project when I realized that we were about to experience really warm temperatures that tulips do not like, so I scrambled to get them all drawn. I didn’t spend nearly as much time on the later drawings as I did the early ones, but you get the idea. I’m so happy I did this! It was a mixed-media experience, with watercolour, gouache, Neocolor II pastels, black ink, blue ink, markers and water-soluble pencils all making an appearance!

And this morning I opened all of the accordion book to take a photo while the tulips were still in bloom. The thing I love most about the book is that even though the daffodils and hyacinths are finished now, in my book everything is blooming at the same time.

60 Comments on “Bulbs 72-182: a race to the finish line”

  1. Pegret Harrison says:

    That is so neat. Wonderful project !

    Sent from my iPhone



  2. bettyohome says:

    It has been a joy to watch these flowers unfold! (Every pun intended! 😉)


  3. Sharon Monson says:

    Wonderful project. Fun to try to guess what mixed media you used on each.


  4. Jean-Pierre Riel says:

    Un projet complètement fou mais quelle belle réussite!


  5. Tami Jacques says:

    Wow! Look at all the work you did!!!!! Between the planting of the bulbs and recording all the results this is beautiful Shari! Like too that you switched things up and used multi-media! Thanks for sharing these bright cheerful colors!!!


  6. karim waked says:

    Just sooo wonderful xx

    514 9944433


  7. angmacleod says:


    Very inspiring! I got a brand new concertina sketchbook on my shelf! I might have to crank it open and get in the garden! Well done with your bulbs! That is a good rate of return! Excellent renderings.


  8. Mary Grasek says:

    Wow. This is amazing. I really enjoyed the journey with you. Seeing the entire book spread out it such a treat. Thanks so much for sharing.


    Liked by 1 person

  9. ksmiley2015 says:

    Wondrous! this is a stupendous thing you did and it inspires us all. Way to go! your flowers are proud.

    ak in port ludlow wa usa


    • Thanks! I don’t know what to do with it now. I’ve put it back in the box it came in but I think I should pin it up on the wall in my studio for when I need to see some colour in the middle of winter.


  10. Nancy Poist says:

    The finished work was so worth all your effort. So fun to see!


  11. Dotti says:

    Beautiful paintings and beautiful garden, thank you for all the hard work and for sharing with us. You should be very proud of the beauty you created.


  12. Devon Hedding says:

    Yea.. I can’t do that either!

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

  13. claire russell says:

    Wow! Congratulations. What a project. You’ve inspired me for ordering bulbs this fall and painting next spring.

    That’s a long accordion book. I can’t remember what brand you said it was??

    Claire Russell

    Instagram: clairepaint


    • Hi Claire. Thanks for having a look. The book is made by Seawhite of Brighton. I believe it was a sponsorship gift at an Urban Sketchers symposium. I’ve had it for years and only just opened it recently.


  14. Maria Hager says:

    so inspiring! it was simply lovely to watch! Thanks for having shared these lovely pics with us!


  15. Judy Sopher says:

    I haven’t had much time to write or be on my laptop and was so delighted to see this project. What a wonderful piece of work. Flowers don’t last long but this will.

    And your garden is so lovely. And neat. My sister in law used to live in the very cool mountains and grew beautiful tulips. We lived in New Mexico and had poor luck with them. Yet a friend who was a master gardener could grew tons of them in spite of the heat . I don’t have that green thumb.


  16. TonyU says:

    Bloomin’ marvellous!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Joyce says:

    Such an interesting idea and beautiful flowers.


  18. Riseup Admin says:

    A wonderful project!  Kudos! I recently did a mixed media concertina book of beach memories as a thank you to friends who lent us their beach condo. You may have been my inspiration. Elly

    Sent from the all new AOL app for iOS


  19. pw57 says:

    Shari, this is so beautiful. I too have been sketching/documenting my garden through the seasons. I started last year in June. So hard to keep up right now. Everything is growing rapidly and there is planting to be done! I love your bulbs!


  20. Rita says:

    Love it keep up he good work to inspire more upcoming artists


  21. Northern Traveller says:

    Well done Shari!
    What a creative concertina project – beautiful.
    How did you get the squirrels onside – LOL!
    Mary (TO)


    • Hi Mary, Thanks for having a look! I’m not sure where the squirrels are this year. Usually I am out there trying to chase them away when the tulips are blooming, but this year there are very few. I guess they found a more delicious garden than mine.


  22. Denise says:

    Congratulations on a job well done, getting all bulbs planted, then sketched! Your garden is beautiful.


  23. 6121bobbi says:

    Hi Shari The accordion sketch book is wonderful! I love your interpretation. Thank you so much for your daily message! It cheers us all.



  24. Don M says:

    Wow, really nicely done Shari!


  25. Carol Bershad says:

    What a fabulous accomplishment, Shari. Congratulations.


  26. Terrific! And the garden looks gorgeous.


  27. Suzanne says:

    I enjoyed seeing these beautiful flower sketches as they bloomed. Well done! And thank you also for the photo of your garden. All beautiful!
    Quick questions. Did you take smartphone photos of these sketches right after you sketched them? I noticed how brilliant the colours of the sketched were but they seem quite faded in the garden photo. How could one preserve the brightness? Merci Shari.


    • HI Suzanne, Thanks for having a look. In answer to your question, I scan all of my sketches which is why they look bright. If I’m on location, I take a phone photo of the sketch with the location in the background but when I get home I always scan stuff. I like to have a good reproduction, plus I often make prints or am asked for a good reproduction for a book or magazine. It’s nice to have a high resolution image ready instead of trying to hunt down the image in a sketchbook. I use an Epson Perfection scanner.


  28. Nice to see the finished book by the garden. It’s larger than I thought. Bravo!


  29. It looks so great to see them all displayed like that!


  30. Cindy Wahlstrom says:

    So lovely to see it photographed in front of your garden.


  31. Jean A Paterson says:

    Your 200 bulb project was a triumph! Every new instalment was delightful to see. Some of your flower cluster sketches could be printed for framing I think.


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