Sorry zinnias

I managed to scrounge up a few sorry looking flowers in my garden so that I would have something to sketch today. The asters are just beginning to bloom but the zinnias, sadly, were not a success right from the start. Clearly, I did not read the nursery tags properly when I bought them because I was hoping for tall flowers for cutting, and ended up with short ones that got eaten by bugs. Oh well… These are the last few that were intact enough to cut.

I painted them in direct watercolour, meaning no pen or pencil drawing to start. Sometimes with flowers, the freshest way to go is just to put down the colour on white paper. I start with the blooms and then connect them with greenery, adding layers of negative painting as I go. Painted on a block of Hahnemuehle The Collection watercolour paper.

50 Comments on “Sorry zinnias”

  1. Donna says:

    Great color!!! I have those sad looking zinnias also. The bugs had a good season. Thank you for one of the last hurrahs of summer.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sharon Monson says:

    Talk about making lemonade out of lemons!! I’m in awe of your watercolor bouquets. Just beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. TonyU says:

    Sorry zinnias maybe, but lovely painting definitely!


  4. Linda Uphus says:

    Wow!!! You are so inspiring with every post! Here I think there is little left to paint in my garden and you create such a beautiful view of fall!!! Love your colors and your explanation of your approach. I am going to try just putting paint to paper. What colors did you use?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Linda,
      Thanks so much. I used lots of colour in this one but mostly Transparent Orange, Sap Green and Carbazole Violet. Probably a bit of Quin Rose too, for the big zinnias.
      I bet there’s something decaying in your garden too. Those are often the most interesting subjects!


  5. De says:

    You’ve honored them quite well in their final days of glory. Beautiful painting!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Elegant and lively! And with so much character. Beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Deborah says:

    I love this painting!


  8. A more than marvelous painting!


  9. Elly Hobgood says:

    Just absolutely stunning!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Northern Traveller says:

    Not bad for sorry-ass zinnias!!!!
    Painting is beautiful & fresh Shari.


  11. sandidureice says:



  12. Chris Rusk says:

    It sparkles!


  13. I think they’re beautiful! Love orange and purple together. By the way, thanks so much for the tip Hahnemuhle on the paper! I received my sample today. Can’t wait to try it out.

    Thanks again?


    Liked by 1 person

  14. ksmiley2015 says:

    Evil bugs! cannot tell it by your lovely painting however. Nice paper, isn’t it?


  15. deedster56 says:

    No matter the state of the flower or plant Shari can give it a beautiful brilliance.


  16. Bernadette says:

    Exquisite color!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Wow! You made something so beautiful out of those “sorry looking flowers.”


  18. toddpop1 says:

    You still make ’em look great!


  19. Elaine Robinson says:

    I think this is lovely. And thank you for mentioning the Hahnemuele free samples last week. I wrote then and got my samples immediately. I plan to use them in the next few days.

    Elaine S Robinson 836 Cole Street San Francisco,CA 94117 415 661 5393


    Liked by 1 person

  20. Judy Sopher says:

    So beautiful. Our flowers are really gone. I am starting to like direct watercolor more and more. thanks to the painting a day month. But I also miss the drawing part so trying to do both.Never realized direct watercolor works so well with flowers. thanks.


    • I do that too Judy. Sometimes I draw and sometimes I go straight to brush. It really depends on the scene and how patient I am feeling that day. If I am impatient I don’t look carefully at the shapes as I am painting, so having some pencil lines helps.


  21. Sai Sundar S says:

    Very beautiful Colors are fantastic…


  22. Betty says:

    Gorgeous florals, even if not the perfect specimens.


  23. Iona says:

    Just beautiful, orange, purple and green is one of my favourite combinations. I love the way you have painted the one upper left as it is turned away – you can see the underside of the bloom. Very nicely depicted! I think there are a few sad blooms left in my garden, I’ll have to go look.


  24. Elaine McGann says:

    Shari, really like your paintings. I felt so sad when you had so much rain because we had drought. Now I wish I could send you zinnias. First time in a long time that zinnias grew [without bunnies eating them] and have flourished. It is wonderful to share in this way–when one person has one thing and another person has another.


  25. mcammeehan says:

    As always Shari, your use of colour is inspirational


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