Purple Rain!

I hope this is not a disappointment but this is nothing to do with the movie or the album but the beautiful Native Wisteria of Australia.

The Germans have a lovely name for the deciduous Wisteria that is native to China – ‘ Blue Rain’ (Blaue Regan).  Our evergreen Native Wisteria has long dense sprays of purple pea flowers so it seems appropriate to nickname it ‘Purple Rain’.

Native Wisteria at Balligar

Native Wisteria at Balligar

This one is winding itself around a Jarrah tree trunk.  You can’t tell from my photo but it winds around in a clockwise direction because we are in the southern hemisphere!

I love the little faces of the purple pea flowers that remind me of a cartoon character – maybe one out of Duck Tales?  I wondered how to capture the colourful, entwining nature of the plant on paper.  I felt overwhelmed at the thought of representing  the vine as a whole and decided to keep it simple.  I focused on a few leaves and sprays of flowers.

I started with a pencil sketch from nature – on tracing paper as I find it very forgiving as I change my mind or make mistakes and want to erase – and erase – and…

Design Sketch

Design Sketch

When I was satisfied with the representation of the flora and how it sat within an oval,  I suggested  the tangle of the slender, twisting branches with flowing lead light like lines.  I then photocopied the tracing onto cheap copy paper and played some more – adding colour with pencils. 

Happy to continue I lightly drew the design onto a sheet of Arches smooth watercolour paper – 300gsm.  On the way I changed my mind… and changed the shape to a square and made it bigger – to give myself more options for mounting.  This is the end result – a watercolour painting framed virtually.

If you think you’ve seen it before you may have had a peek at my post Almost Monday… where I celebrated creating a set of greeting cards from this Wildflowers of Balligar series.

Square Framed Native Wisteria 10cm image JPEG

I’m pleased that the design has proven flexible and I’ve used it in the round: Native Wisteria Bookmark v0.1 JPEG
Square Framed Native Wisteria Round Mat 10cm image JPEG



I don’t have a favourite plant (too many to choose!) but I like this quote from Beth Hoffman’s ‘Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt’:

“Wisteria is my favourite flowering vine.  Do you know why?”.  I shook my head. “No, Ma’am.”
“Because it’s strong – just like me.”

Au Revoir (Hooroo in Aussie)


2 thoughts on “Purple Rain!

  1. Greg Campbell

    Great post, when the wisteria is in full flower it is fantastic with the bush as a backdrop and the painting, while only a small part of the climber, takes me to the winding climbing mass of flowers.


Leave a Reply