A Long, Artistic Journey

Tomorrow sees me check something off my dream list – I am actually having a small exhibition and sale of prints of my original watercolor illustrations! You, my readers inspired me when so many asked if i would consider doing prints of my watercolors.

The invitation to Mecox Gardens

The invitation to Mecox Gardens

So, it seems appropriate to reflect on the artistic journey that got me to this point, and the message that you never really know where things might lead. As most of you regulars are aware, my love of flowers and gardening started as a child, continued into my adult life, was sidelined by the fashion world for a time, but re-emerged as the motivation for my enlightening apprenticeship in a Parisian flower shop. This of course inspired my book A Passion for Flowers, and nearly everything that’s gone on since. Twenty years later my devotion to flowers continued, and the question arose, where to next?

My wise Mom frequently commented that I never actually stop to smell these roses that so inspire me, and with that I took up painting watercolors. In At Home in the Garden, I attempted to follow the journey of selecting, planting, growing, picking, and finally (after taking a couple of watercolor classes) trying to paint some of the beauty of Mother Nature. As I have mentioned in a previous post, I have always admired the true botanical artists  but discovered in the learning process that as an art form, it is also a scientific approach, and that was not where my heart was. I wanted to use my flowers as the inspiration but I wanted  to show them in vivid color; make my butterflies and insects big and out of scale to play with my painting!  Many, many (sometimes very frustrating) hours later, it turns out that I now use painting as a form of meditation and, like my flowers, can’t ever imagine my life without it – I think proof that you can, indeed, teach an old dog new tricks!


In my studio

If you happen to be in the Manhattan area, I’d love to see you at Mecox, it would mean a lot to see the friendly faces of some of my readers – as this is a rather nervous moment for me,

PS Maybe in the new year I shall have them for sale online – if I do, you will be the first to know.

From my book At Home in the Garden - explaining the journey from planting, growing, displaying and painting this Fritillaria

From my book At Home in the Garden – explaining the journey from planting, growing, displaying and painting this Fritillaria

Another Frittilaria

Another Fritillaria

Stopping to smell the oranges!

Stopping to smell the oranges!


92 thoughts on “A Long, Artistic Journey

  1. Dear Carolyne,

    Many years ago on one of your book tours I heard you recount a tale related to your enlightening sabbatical in a Parisian flower shop. So cool the path led to a gallery show. I write about art, and know its commercial disregard for painting skill. Only painters with proficiency and skill work with watercolor. Congratulations – Virginia Billeaud Anderson

  2. I have seen many of these paintings in person and they are brilliant! You truly amaze me with your never ending talents!!
    Katie Viola

    • Dear Katie you are my artistic friend thanks so much —see you in January in the mountains xox carolyne

  3. I wish I was in NYC on Thursday…what a delight! My friend is visiting there and will sure to let her know. Carolyne, your watercolors are quite beautiful and not an easy medium…BRAVO!

    • Thanks Cindy, these are limited edition prints, but regular prints is certainly something I’m looking into! cr

  4. Dear Carolyn, you indeed have mastered the medium water colors, not a easy feat by any means. I too have always loved flowers and capturing them on canvas. My first success was in grade school when I painted a few flowers on paper and it was chosen for a art show. After painting for 50 some years, I am finally feeling like I actually like my paintings.. I will always love flowers and continue to try new mediums, I also find oils more challenging. Thank you for you letting us enjoy your beautiful home, style and your adventures, you are a inspiration to all of us.

    • Hi Lisa,
      Thank you so much—because I love saturated color and was not using the light properly in my paintings I began to think I should try oils. So I took a 5 day class in colorado—oh my I had oil every where and was so frustrated by the drying time I decided it was too much for me—so brava to you for mastering that –please send me a link if you have them on line. cr

  5. Extraordinary paintings, Carolyne Please consider selling online to the general public. I would be the first in line to make a purchase. You have such a God-given talent with gardening, painting, cooking, fashion. Your many talents seem endless.
    Thanks for inspiring us all.

    Donna Chappel
    Donna Chappel Interiors

    • Dear Donna,
      Thank you, thank you!so much for your support and faith in my work–I loose it sometimes.
      I plan to sell them on line in the new year.


  6. It is a pity that you cannot buy the originals online through the gallery. I wish you much success. They are very beautiful to behold. Best Regards, Adrian.

    • Hi Adrian,
      I have not heard from you in a long time! Maybe some day I shall sell the originals–but for right now this is a whole new world for me and I am starting with prints because people asked for them. The paintings take so much time to do but someday I may sell them rather then having lie in a portfolio gathering dust.

  7. Dear Carolyne,
    Congratulations on your art exhibit. I will try to visit the exhibit next week.
    I love your watercolors. They have so much grace and sensitivity portrayed in them.

    • Hi Vivi,
      I am not sure how long it will be up as this a store and not a gallery but thank you for saying you would stop by.

  8. Stunning just like everything you do! Talent always finds you. Have a wonderful holiday season! How I wish I could attend.

  9. Artists know that watercolour is a very challenging medium. You mastered it in such a short time, and your imagery is so imaginative; not to mention decorative. No need for nerves. Your show will be a big success. You are loaded with talent, and it will be recognized. Sorry I can’t get to the city tomorrow, but I wish you all the best. When we do what we love, others respond. We love everything you do!

    • Yes, Cynthia,it is true one is fortunate to have the good luck to do what we like sometimes. Thank you!

  10. These pieces are exquisite and I am certainly looking forward to hearing about your successful launch here on your blog!

  11. Hi Carolyne dear,
    I’m not in NYC
    But is there anyway to purchase limited prints now ????
    Joanie Aldrich ( your friend from the California Club ❤️️)

  12. Your botanical watercolors are the most beautiful that I’ve seen. I have every book that you have published, and I hope to own this one as well.

    • Thank you Martha–your words make me blush but thank you so much I do appreciate them—starting to work on a new book. cr

  13. how lovely!
    have sent this to my son & hopes he comes by to get a signed copy of your book for my birthday. 🙂

  14. Beautiful water colors!! Flowers and painting are a reflection of our inner calm! Your artistic endeavors are always perfection!

    • Oh Meredith I love the idea but not sure my inner self is very calm– but hope lives eternal-cr

  15. Carolyne, You have more than mastered watercolors. You’ve incorporated your keen sense of design and color, and have surpassed most of the traditional botanical prints. I love the saturated colors and your slight sense of whimsy. I would love to own one of your pieces. I won’t be in NY for your show, but will look online to see if there’s a link to purchase although I’m sure there will be little red dots on everything in your show. Brenda

    • Sorry not to meet you in NYC…but someday hope to put prints of them on line. love the idea of little red dots—as long as they are not on my face!!!!! ? cr

  16. Oh I love that big, bold Fritillaria! It has great color and composition. Maybe one day you’ll produce them in a boxed set of cards – Hope so! I’m outside your area but wish you all the best on your exhibition.

    • Hey Donna—love the orange in the fritillaria as well and I have made some of the paintings into note cards–hope to get those on line someday soon cr

  17. Congratulations! Your watercolours are very beautiful. You are one of many talents. You must feel truly blessed.
    I look forward to the sale of your prints. It will be so hard to chose just one or two. I made the assumption that you would ship to Canada, also.

    • I feel blessed because there are many nice people who believe in what I try to create—and yes to Canada! cr

  18. I am truly in love with your work – your design and your art. I will be in NY on December 8th and I am so sorry I will miss this event. Best Wishes for a huge success as I know it will be.

  19. Carolyne,
    Is there anything that you can’t do? I am in awe of your talents. Please post more of your gorgeous watercolors.

  20. These prints are lovely with a bit of whimsy (accentuated by the out of scale interpretation). This of course makes them all the more alluring. Would love to hear more on the Parisian Flower Shop journey.

  21. How beautiful!!! Congratulations and all the best for your show – I will be looking forward to an opportunity to purchase in the future. Would love to be there!!!

  22. Dear Carolyn,
    My name is Kirk Reed Forrester. I’m a writer and editor with Flower magazine and interviewed you a few years ago for a feature about you and your then new book, A Passion For Flowers. This morning I received the email from Mecox about your exhibit of botanical illustrations. How beautiful and how exciting! Congratulations. I’m always on the hunt for new trends and products, so if you do decide to sell your paintings online, I’d love to know so perhaps we can mention it in the magazine. If you have a PR person, I’d love to be in touch with him/her. Regardless, I look forward to seeing more of your work to come–whether it be books or paintings. Best regards, Kirk

    • Hi Kirk love your magazine and stories. Also appreciate how Flower is always so supportive of beauty in the world. Hi to Margot. Best Carolyne rosa@weatherston.cc is the best contact—she can always track me down

  23. Not much time to get a flight from your beloved Missouri. Congratulations and wish I could be there to see and meet you. . I know it will be a success. LOL

  24. Carolyne, congratulations on your show. I have always thought watercolor captures best the colors of flower petals with the light shining through them. How interesting you chose watercolor to paint your flowers. Wish I could attend your show; in live nearby in NJ, but unfortunately work 2nd shift and since it’s a Thus. I’ll be at work. Best wishes on your show. Try not to be nervous — something an acting teacher once told me about being on stage: “You chose to be here. Your character wants to be in the scene or she would walk offstage.” Remember you CHOSE to be there, so enjoy your moment of acknowledgement as an artist. We can’t control how people feel about our work. We can only control what WE do. The audience reaction is all their own, so bask in the glory of a job well done!

    • Dear Jule,
      How wise your words are and how lovely to read them as I get ready to retire from a very long day. I have taken a screen shot of your comment as an inspiring thought to hold on to. Thank you very much —carolyne r

      • I learned many things from this teacher, whose name is Carol Fox Prescott — she teaches acting in NYC. I am happy her words were inspirational for you, as they were/are for so many others.
        I felt her idea applied to visual art, as well. We can only control the output, not the reaction, if we are artists. You’ve already done your job. Now it’s time for the public to interpret it!

  25. Congratulations on your exhibit and lovely work. As an undergradute art major I did many water colors and continued on doing interior rendering in grad school, so I can appreciate your wonderful talent and hard work. I am in Manhattan, may I attend the opening? I understand if it is full. Have a wonderful evening!

    • Of course! Alan I would be thrilled if you can stop by so make sure you come and say hi if you make it to Mecox. cr

  26. You really have a wonderful eye for details and color. Unfortunately, my travels will not include a visit to NYC any time soon. I would have love to see your watercolors up close.

    STUNNING…….like ALL that YOU DO!
    POP over to my blog to see my WINTER GARDEN………any input would be welcome!
    I am in search of white and yellow flowers for the creek bed…….CAN YOU SUGGEST?

    • Contessa,
      As ever thank you for your sweet comments. I shall look forward to seeing your blog -it is the TheVintageContessa.Net ??? Will look to better understand the question about the white and yellow flowers…. all the best carolyne

  28. So disappointed to miss your show; I was just in NYC for Thanksgiving week and returned to Mississippi on 11/29. Please do let us know as soon as you’re ready to sell prints online. They are so lovely and meticulously done. Congrats on your newest book!!

    • Thank you Cathy, and if and when they are online, I will definitely let you know through the blog, cr

  29. So very beautiful! Such talent! Thank you for sharing. I do hope these will be for sale at some point. MH

  30. Your watercolors are so beautiful! I will so look forward to the day when the prints will be available online.
    Thank you for all the beauty you share with us all. Your books and blog are always an inspiration and my go to happy places!
    Happy Holidays! Joanna

  31. dear carolyne
    oh, to be “nervous”.. a woman as wonderful as you are.. as talented, as brilliantly creative and with a lovely spirit…
    cannot wait to meet you in person…

    will try to come to mecox and truly hope that your evening is a great success

    with much admiration
    joan sbarro

    rsvp… joan sbarro molly helfet liana makkos

    • Exceedingly kind words, Joan, thank you! I look forward to seeing you and friends there, cr

  32. Hello Carolyne
    These are absolutely gorgeous! I am so curious though as to how you learned to paint so well. Is it a natural talent, or have you taken lessons on painting or both? I always thought it had to be an inate talent like singing… either have the talent or not. Please let us know?

    • Thank you Donna. I suppose there might be some natural talent there, as I’ve always been into design and color, but I did take some watercolor lessons, and really try and practice whenever I have a moment. I am certainly humbled anytime I see a professional’s work though, and feel I have quite a way to go! cr

  33. Your watercolors are absolutely beautiful! I would definitely purchase these when available! Love your blog, your books and your impeccable style – I enjoyed meeting you and hearing you speak at Elizabeth Park this past spring and I look forward to many more books by you in the future. All the best for the New Year…

    • Thank you so much Penny, and I’m glad you made it to Elizabeth Park…as for ‘many’ more books, we’ll have to see! cr

  34. Your work is beyond gorgeous! I’ll be in NYC over the weekend. Do you know how long your prints will be at Mecox Gardens?

    • Not sure how long it will be up with the holiday season they may change things quickly. Have lovely trip to NYC all the same !!! cr

  35. Dear Carolyne,

    How exciting and wonderful for you. You really are so very good for having painted for such a short while.
    I would love to see you paint flowers, eg., a bowl of full blown roses or even better lilacs.
    I found watercolours difficult and have more success with oils.
    Whatever you do, please keep letting us know about it. So look forward to your posts.

    ???. Marie ???

    • Hi Marie—I am going to have to study very hard to do what you suggest!!! Thanks for being my pen pal from down under! carolyne

  36. You inspire me to continue my pursuit of watercolor, while knowing I will not achieve your magnificent result. Jean

    • Hi Jean,
      Please continue the watercolors–like you I look at other people’s work and say I will never be able to paint like that!!!!—-so I feel the same—but the point is at least we are trying!!! and learning!!! along the way. good luck carolyne

  37. Carolyn, would love to see your work for sale online; hope that’s coming up in the future. Can’t be in NY at this time to see this initial exhibit.

  38. Carolyne
    Wish I was going to be in New York I would come to your reception! Thank you for sharing your beautiful art and joy of your life. Have a wonderful evening. Shelly H. Bend, Oregon.

  39. Dear Carolyne

    I love botanicals and was a scientific illustratorand worked as a docent at the Getty Museum many years ago. There was an exhibit by a woman named maria sibylla merian who was a naturalist and an amazing artist from the 1700’s. Your work is similar and equally exquisite in detail. She inspired me to study copper plate engraving and water color. Your work just motivated me to make the time to start painting with water colors again. Thank you for being an inspiration.

    • Hi Ellen—I thought in one of my posts I had mentioned that Maria Sibylla Merian was one of my idols. I have 6 of the colored plates from the engravings that were created after her water colors. She was, as you said an amazingly courageous woman for her time, married, divorced, older when she left for Surinam, dealing in a man’s world! What I love about her style is that while she wanted to capture faithfully the flowers and insects she did them with great stylistic flair as well. Her sense of composition, color,and scale was extremely bold. She was my inspiration as well. Yes, finding the time to paint is always the problem in our overly world. cr

  40. Your prints are so beautiful. Your talent is amazing. I would buy several of the prints in a heartbeat. I particularly love the one of the pink parrot tulip, butterfly and inchworm on frontispiece of your latest book. Thank you for bringing beauty and your own charm to this world.

    • Thank you so much Ann….and please watch this space for the prints being available to purchase, cr

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