Watercolor daylily painting


A flower bed of daylilies ran across the front yard of the house in which I grew up. 4 feet deep and 20 feet across, it included dozens of plants. My mother added them to her cooking, making butter-drenched buds and stuffed blossoms. When I was 13, the city curbed the street and the edge of our lawn moved out about 8 feet. The lilies were no longer a border and my parents thought the flower bed looked odd position in the middle of the front yard. My father and I dug and hauled to transplant many of the lilies to another space in the yard. The long, tuberous roots are hard to dig and, if you don’t get the entire root, the plant re-grows. We fought the lily battle for some years. That’s why, when I was looking for flowery symbols of strength, the daylily came to mind.

Persistence and determination to grow are some of my favorite definitions of strength.

I love watching videos of artists working and daylilies are a comment subject. Before starting to paint, I watched:



I admire the “wet into wet” approach of the first video, but I haven’t found a way to work that way since my easel is tilted and I can’t work on a flat surface from the wheelchair.

For my image source, I used:



After an initial sketch, I painted the green background., Then, I did several painting sessions filling in yellow, orange and red blossoms.

Leaving the light areas for the stamens was a constant challenge. (When I played with this image again for the creative experiment, I happily made the stamens brown to escape this issue.)


Next time, I’d like to keep the background less intense to make the foreground stand out more.

I enjoy my painting sessions!


Posted on

July 4, 2019


  1. Charles Wolfe

    Ah, yes. I’m guessing that perhaps some of the daylilies at the cabin came from that time of transplanting? In any case some of those daylilies (originally, as I recall, planted at 108 Park Street came from North Dakota, transplanted to R.F. by Alpha Stone who moved them from her “growing-up home” in N.D.). And they are persistent! They creep in on the driveway, as I mow them off at the edge, at every mowing. They persist on the bank of the lake, along with lilies of the valley. They crop up in unexpected places–along the edge of the garden, and, sometimes, in the middle of the yard… and, if they get a chance to grow for a year, they persist….for as long as I’ve known them (probably since 1950, when we moved next door to 108 Park St.) In recent passes of 108 Park, I see no evidence that they exist there, any longer, but may a drive through the alley would reveal otherwise!?

    Thanks for you always thoughtful, stimulating, and provocative meditations.

    • Kate

      It’s good to know that some of that patch of daylilies continue to be messengers of strength and persistence (at the cabin). Thanks for your kind words.


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