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Happy Spring Camellia

Happy Spring Camellia, Ink & watercolor, 7x5"
Happy Spring Camellia, Ink & watercolor, 7x5"

I couldn’t resist drawing this one cutting from my camellia bush instead of going straight to the oil painting I was planning to do of the little bouquet of camellias I was assembling. I wanted to enjoy deeply seeing all the shapes and connections and patterns and reflections and colors in the leaves, buds, and flower.

I realize now that I should have gone a little more slowly when I was drawing the flower petals so that I could really capture the personality of this particular flower, the way I did with the leaves and bud. But I think it was making me dizzy, trying to follow all those different curly shapes and ins and outs of the line so I got a little lazy and generalized instead of paying absolute attention and getting it exactly.

I’m always torn between going for the detailed exactitude of botanical illustration and the way oil painters say to skip the detail, skip the individual petals and paint the mass, the form instead. I see the value in both but combining them in one painting rarely satisfies either goal.

4 replies on “Happy Spring Camellia”

Jana, I’d say your style is really wonderful!

Sometimes the exactness of Botanical drawing is nice, but in this case I think it would have belaboured the sponteneity and joy you wanted to express to convey the feeling of Spring. This lovely painted sketch is perfect!! :))

You got it just right!


I’m so glad that you didn’t go directly to the oil! I love seeing your watercolors and this one is beautiful and making me think spring on this 30 degree morning as I prepare to leave for work….


I’ve had a real immersion in spring this morning, what with your camellia, Casey’s flowers, and Ronell’s faces! You’ve done a beautiful job with the heft, shape, and angled droop of camellia leaves! You could paint the camellia with oils in exactly the same way you approached this sketch–or close to the same way—it would be fun to see you try it!


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