liz digs life

Watercolor Rudbeckia

Giant Coneflower (Rudbeckia maxima) is a native wildflower that grows to an impressive 7’ tall! The piece I created today is based on a photo I took of the Rudbeckia growing in one of our display gardens at work. I took the photo standing under them, and they were easily 2’ taller than me! 

Rudbeckia maxima

In late summer these impressive perennials zoom up quickly and make quite the statement in the garden. To learn more about them visit

pencil sketch

As usual I start with a light pencil sketch. Just the general shapes of the flowers and clouds. I loved the simplicity of the original photo and wanted to be sure that I maintained that simplicity in the sketch and ultimately, the painting.

I had a lot of fun with the Ampersand Mt. painting I did recently that used the waterproof pen and watercolor technique. I thought it might be fun to try that again, this time with flowers.

waterproof pen

I lightly trace over the pencil with the waterproof pen. Then erase all the pencil marks.

Here is the final piece. I forgot to take photos along the way this time. I was really into it and realized when I was almost done that I never took any photos as it progressed. This took me about two hours start to finish. Usually when I paint I do a little bit, take a break, look at it, come back to do a little more…. With this one I sat beginning to end and just painted with no break. Didn’t mean to… just got really into it. 

Rudbeckia maxima

One thing I really like about this painting is that it only has four colors – blue, green, yellow, grey. By using fewer colors it visually makes each color pop and seem more important/bold. 


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