July 15 – 21, 2022Vol. 24, No. 6

Basic Flower Painting: Techniques in Watercolor

by Martha F. Barkley

The sunflower on the cover caught my eye as I viewed many art books at the Lithgow Library in Augusta. This grand library, expanded tastefully from the original gem built in 1896, celebrated its 100th with a blue and silver sticker on the cover page of this colorful book, which was edited by Rachel Rubin Wolf.

I love flowers, who doesn’t? The sunflower has new significance since the war broke out in Ukraine where the national flower grows abundantly. Maybe gardens will survive the carnage? I love paintings, and this flowery book has over 125 samples of lush colors of petals from every kind of flower in your summer garden.

The white iris first showed its flag among the greens of my garden, then the low yellow lily, one each day. Soon my orange tiger lilies will roar one day at a time, but by July 10, I will count hundreds. Lupines were everywhere a month ago…peonies and rhododendrons burst forth in my neighbor’s garden, as she shares with us at our camp on the lake.

From basic brushes to paper selection to simple techniques, flip from page to page and flower to flower for pure enjoyment during the July burst of blooms in your garden. It is a delight to enjoy a book like this. There are many to select from.

The second floor at Lithgow offered my husband his favorite WWII novels and I found some biographies, but on the way I chose this art book. The helpful librarians encouraged us to look at the renovated rooms of the original library framed in colorful stained glass. We especially enjoyed sitting down in the comfortable mission chairs in the fireplace room, freshly gilded with golden highlights everywhere and both Abe and George looked down on us as the grandfather clock stands majestically in the corner. People and readers in every room. Last summer I enjoyed the children’s large area, where the outside light is glorious compared to the dark basement before renovation and tripling the size of the Lithgow. Only $15 to borrow books for three months.

Flowers and books certainly are compatible in my life. Dawn Caldwell, a Columbia, SC artist, has painted two different book collections for me with flowers. My Lincoln Lilac painting copy hangs above the coffee area at our beloved Belgrade Public Library.

Perhaps the fields of sunflowers will once again wave their tall golden blooms in the 2022 Tour de France that began in Denmark this summer and continues for weeks of cycling at its best. Keep looking for flowering in your garden and along our many marvelous Maine roads as Queen Anne’s lace comes in full soon. Always a thing of beauty nearby to notice. Enjoy!

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