One-flowered Broomrape (Orobanche uniflora)

One flowered broomrape watercolor

fact sheet:

image reference:

donate: (Minnesota wildflowers reference website)


Mike and Marcie O’Connor have a farm in Wisconsin where they are restoring native prairie. A note from Mike inspired me to look, this month, for threatened native wildflowers. This sweet flower popped up. Its simplicity is lovely. The color of its stems is unexpected.


Before painting: I plan to focus on the blossoms. This requires blocking in a green and dark background to set them off as the blossoms are the palest of purple. I think I should paint the yellow areas first. I’m thinking of a combination of yellow and purple to create stems. This will be a short painting time, as I have been ill. We’ll see what emerges…

After painting: I painted a contour of the stems and flowers in light green to hold space for the white. Then, as promised, I laid in yellow in the right blossom and the right sides of stems. I worked a little in purple to start to define the blossoms. I spent a lot of time with the greens of the background. I thought I would stay light green and then realized that going darker would help me create the whites of the flowers. After the flowers were set off by the darker green background, I returned to purple to individuate flower petals.


  • I enjoyed most painting sessions. Yay for that!
  • In future, if I’m painting something light, remember to go dark in the background. I didn’t remember that I planned for that, but I wish I had. There are parts of the dark green that are overworked and outline the edges of the flowers too much.
  • I just pulled up the reference photo and the finished painting side-by-side. Ouch! Even though I’m not trying for realism, I wish I had gotten the relative dimensions and petal shapes accurately from the start.
  • I chose this image because the flowers are delicate and endangered. That is its own kind of weakness. My tendency to judge myself harshly when I feel I’ve missed the mark is a different sort of weakness. I am making progress, but I have a long way to go!

Insights about my insights:

After sitting with these insights for a day, I realize they represent a struggle between accuracy and meaning. Question: what do I want art-making to be for me? Answer: a celebration of finding and participating in making beauty. No side-by-side comparisons or postmortem analyses of what went wrong are necessary. I saw and responded to beauty. Mission accomplished.


Posted on

May 30, 2022

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