Texas Wildflower Series: Prairie Nymph


“Prarie Nymph” (5×7″, oil on masonite)
About the flower: This is the “Prairie nymph”, my 6th of the Texas Wildflower Series. It’s a part of the iris family and it pops up just above the grass line with its unusual three pedals. Somehow, this flower will know it’s about 9am and open up from a tight, curled up ball, bask all day, then around 5:30-6pm, close up for the night. It happens pretty quickly, so I’ll try to set my iPhone on timelapse (1 hr sped up to 1 min) next time I see one.  

Notes of the day: Finally it was a sunny day and perfect temps after almost a week of clouds and rain. I was at work, but found open times to get the brushes flying. I began around noon, so the sun was directly above with the pedals shading the stems and grasses under it. I scumbled in a light watered-down background of greens, blues, browns and just finished adding in the pedals before getting back to work. By the time work was done, the flowers had bundled up, so I made my best guess by looking at the grasses and other little small, ground cover weeds around it. Not ideal, but it was enough to capture the feel of it. My top priority was keeping the pedals lighter then the grasses to stand out, but maintaining some balance with highlights of green here and there.  When finishing up, I paid attention to the edges of the pedals, softening up those receding and sharpening those coming out towards me. Felt so good to paint again. Sometimes that last 10% of effort to “finish” a painting makes all the difference. I have such a hard time knowing when to stop, but I backed up and it just felt like it did when looking them in real life; not too bright, but noticeably unusual. 


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