Carolina spring beauties

Drawing of Carolina spring flower

I wanted to draw a spring flower. I tried crocuses first, but was unable to find a good reference photo. I googled spring flower and discovered this reference of a flower called “Carolina Spring Beauties” and also discovered Jacqueline Donnelly’s website. What a joy to be able to take a virtual walk in the woods!

I spent two (~2 hour) drawing sessions working with the watercolor pencils. Each time I approach a drawing project, I feel like I haven’t a clue what I’m doing. I make very tentative marks for a while, trying to get a sense of how the composition will work. I was attracted to these flowers because of the purple lines in the flower. Because of that, I decided to keep a sense of line throughout the drawing. (I forgot that at first when I came back for the second drawing session. This is why the green leaves are more solid. This is also why keeping better notes would be a good idea.) Again, I’m frustrated with how light watercolor pencil is on the page. Adding water brightens things up, but only slightly.

When the watercolor pencil drawing was finished, I decided to add ink. I enjoyed making the ink lines so much, I just kept going. There were at least two points where I felt like I made mistakes and had ruined the drawing, but since there wasn’t any way of going back, I just kept going forward.

There is an ant in the photo and one of the decision points was whether to include it. If yes, then how much to make it look like an ant. I liked the is-there-isn’t-there quality of the creature in the photo, so I resisted adding any detail. Did you notice it?

I am pleased with the final product – so much so that I am wondering if I have found a style to call my own. We’ll see if I can do another one…



Posted on

April 30, 2017


  1. Jan Hubbell

    I love this drawing! – Beautifully done, lovely details, delightful combo of watercolor and ink, and an interesting linear motif that add up to a nice style to call your own. Thanks for pointing out the ant! – I didn’t see it at first.

    • Kate

      Thank you, Jan, for calling out the elements of the style. That helps me have a clue how to do it next time. Stay tuned!

  2. Kitty Wilson-Pote

    A pleasure to read about your process here, Kate, especially that the now-invisible inky ‘mistakes’ did not deter you from conpleting this lovely work. The delicacy of the colours actually ends up working very well, as does the way that your subtly mysterious ant catches the eye as both explore the blossoms. The assured way you include both the strong vertical length of branch and the slender diagonal twig above give me courage with elements of a woodland photo I’m about to render in paints — it’s my first easel-exercise in several years. So thank you for this — my anxieties are giving way to being IN the flow of my little project, thanks to all you say and show here.
    Yup: am looking forward to your next exploration in this emerging style!
    Hug to you!

    • Kate

      Thanks, Kitty. I appreciate your comments about color and composition. I’d love to see how your painting comes out if you’re willing to share it. Hugs back!


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