Magnolia Glow – Daily Painting

Magnolia Glow – 7 x 11″ watercolor. SOLD.

Although this painting is sold see more of my floral and botanical paintings here

Every year I wait for the magnolias to come into bloom at Descanso. The tulips burst open at the same time, which seems fitting. The downy buds thrust up, covered with a soft casing that seems like velvet or suede. Eventually it begins to show color. This is usually about the time that a rainstorm threatens to spoil the blooms. But, with luck, the tight buds will make it through the showers, to open fully on a warm day. From this tight urn-shaped form they will expand gracefully, the petals laying back in ecstasy. The colors are more subtle in the shade, but I like them best in early morning or very late afternoon, when a slanting ray causes the white of the petals to glow with a hot inner fire.

In this case, the flower was painted first, in general terms. Then the background was added to gauge the contrast. Finally, I went back and added the final color accents to the bloom. I rather like the trapped negative space between the stem and the leaf – it reminds me of certain art nouveau motifs.


  1. Ronell
    March 20, 2007

    Your magnolia is beautiful. You’ve really captured that glow!

  2. Shirley
    March 20, 2007

    Absultely beautiful Karen. I love the contrast of the flower against the dark background, We are weeks away from our magnolia blooms in icy, snowy Central Park, New York.

  3. teric
    March 20, 2007

    Oh mY gosh, this is my new favorite! It is just stunning and sparkling and alive! Gorgeous.

  4. jules
    March 20, 2007

    Oh gosh! The light in this is so bright! Absolutely lovely.

  5. Casey
    March 20, 2007

    This is amazing – I love the contrast of the delicate flower and that stunning dark background; I wait for the magnolias every Spring- thanks for doing this!

  6. Linda
    March 20, 2007

    Wow — it really does glow!

  7. Brenda Yarborough
    March 20, 2007

    WOW, Karen!! Others have said it, but I must repeat. . . it truly DOES GLOW!! Gorgeous, yummy and rich color against that white!! Very effective.

  8. Kate (Cathy) Johnson
    March 21, 2007

    I am really loving your sunstruck flower series! This is just lovely, the perfect balance of detail and bold, simple areas.

  9. Robyn
    March 21, 2007

    I can’t put it better than Kate – sunstruck – that’s perfect. They are absolutely lovely, Karen. The magnolias are blooming here and I’m trying to work out how I can jam another tree into our garden!

  10. Anastasia
    March 21, 2007

    this is very beautiful Karen…Im sure there are lots of lovely flowers blooming over there now
    Happy Spring!

  11. Jana Bouc
    March 22, 2007

    Stunning and so fresh! Just lovely.

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