Century Plant: 30 in 30 day one

This is my first attempt at a 1/2 sheet painting so it’s 15″ wide by 22″ tall.  my largest so far have been 1/4 sheet paintings, 11″ x 15″.  And no, I didn’t paint all of this today!  I started it last week and worked on it more today, so it’s a work in progress.  The greens aren’t as sickly yellow as it looks on my screen now, but it’s late and tomorrow’s another day to get a better in progress photo!

rachel murphree watercolors

century plant in progress

Here’s my reference photo cropped from tons of photos I’ve taken of this plant.  I like the lines that move through the photo and the blending of the darks of the spines.  I’m quite excited to paint this, but I know I will paint at least another version of this because I”m not happy with my brushstrokes. I realize that because my paper is bigger, I need to use bigger brushes and make bigger puddles of pigment if  I want smooth color mingling washes which I do.  But at least this one is practice and reaffirming the color values that i need.


The 30 in 30 painting challenge is one that I’ve participated in twice yearly for several years and it is always a fun, challenging and productive month when I do it. Click on the link to see other people’s works that they’ve done today.  there are about 1000 artists all over the world participating this time.

12 thoughts on “Century Plant: 30 in 30 day one

  1. I don’t see the greens as “sickly” – never met a green I didn’t admire. But it is … a different green in the painting compared to your photo. It’s a great composition and challenging I bet, given the scale and the bigger paper. Next you’ll be focusing on a single edge, one sharp spine ala O’Keefe. 🙂


  2. Of course, I love this. It already has such a great textural look to it. I guess your greens, as compared to the photo, have a bit more yellow to them, but I just think it makes the contrast more significant. Having said that, I do love the blue/grays of so many desert plants.

    I always love your work, Rachel. Thanks for sharing so generously.



  3. Pingback: Roses 30 in 30 day 2 | Rachel Murphree Watercolors

  4. Pingback: Demo this Saturday at 3 | Rachel Murphree Watercolors

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