How an Amaryllis Grows

I love growing amaryllis bulbs in the winter. Every November those boxes with bulb, soil and pot appear in my local grocery store and I usually buy a few of them. Then I pot them up, set them on the windowsill and wait for the magic to happen. Usually about four to six weeks later (often just on time for Christmas), an incredible stalk appears topped by a bulbous flower bud. Soon a glorious amaryllis bloom appears to astonish us and cheer up those gloomy winter days. This year I decided to paint one too. Here’s how my painted version grew, from initial “potting up” (i.e., concept) to final flowering.

My amaryllis started out as a sketch in my iPad Pro.

Amaryllis Sketch

I did this sketch on my iPad Pro with Apple Pencil and the Procreate app.

Then using an oil stick I transferred the sketch to a cradled wood panel to be painted. In this case, I created a grid to aid in the accurate transfer of the sketch. I’ve painted the panel with a base coat of bright acrylic paint. Some of it will show through even after the piece is finished, especially around the edges, where I like to leave things a bit rough.

Amaryllis Outline

I don’t usually draw a grid to transfer my drawings, but in this case I wanted to get the proportions right. I printed out the black and white drawing from my original Procreate sketch.

My first layers of paint are usually quite bright and often in complementary colours to my final version. Because of my painting style, where I don’t try to cover each layer completely, bits of these interesting first layers will show through here and there.

Amaryllis Painting

My first layers of colour are usually bright and often complementary to the final colours, the better to add a bit of zing to the final work when bits show through.

Further along, I’ve added more detail and shading to the plant. The background colour is darker than my vision for the final painting. Once it’s dry, I’ll paint over it with a lighter layer, then etch a design into it.

Amaryllis – Layers

Here I’m starting to refine the appearance of the amaryllis flower.

Below, the lighter layer is being painted onto the background and while wet, etched in an interesting pattern with a small, metal tool (you can just see it there on the amaryllis stem).

Amaryllis – Pictoglyphic

In this photo I’m adding a lighter layer of paint to the background, starting from the top. While it’s still wet I use my trusty etching tool to carve some details.

Here’s the final piece with the amaryllis in full bloom. And this one has a second stalk coming along—bonus!

Amaryllis Finished

The final artwork, all grown up! Amaryllis, oil and cold wax, 24˝ h x 12˝ w, $430.

, , , , , ,

3 Responses to How an Amaryllis Grows

  1. Tina Siemens March 2, 2016 at 3:44 pm #

    It is truly an amazing transformation from the first big splashes of color to the finished amaryllis.

    Very beautiful!

  2. Avril March 3, 2016 at 7:12 am #

    Thanks Dorothy, inspiring and you reminded me to retrieve my 2 amaryllis frommy closet !