’tis the time of year for sunflowers, although they are welcome anytime! I have been playing with ink sketches with washes in my sketchbook, as well as a just watercolor painting. The bunch of flowers is now gone but my memory of it is on paper.

Watercolor about 12″ square.
Sketchbook ink and wash
Another ink and wash in the book

Flor del Sol @ KCOS Auction

Flor del Sol_rachel_murphree_watercolor

I’m very pleased to announce that my painting Flor del Sol won a Juror Award for Still Life and Landscape in this year’s KCOS Auction!  You can view the award winning paintings here.  I’m honored to be in such good company .

Globe Mills plein air_rachel_murphree_watercolors

I will let you know what times this painting, and my other donated painting, Gone but Not Forgotten (Globe Mills), will be auctioned to benefit our wonderful public TV station.

Art Auction Air Dates
Saturday, April 22: 5:00 pm–9:00 pm
Sunday, April 23: 5:00 pm–9:00 pm
Saturday, April 29: 5:00 pm–9:00 pm
Sunday, April 30: 5:00 pm–9:00 pm


Petals Askew


This piece was done during a class with Julie Caffee-Cruz and we could use her photo of sunflowers, or one of our own.  This was one of mine and I liked how its petals were not quite perfect and how the light was shining through some of them.

The seed filled center was fun to paint, charging in rich colors of quinacridone burnt scarlet, ultramarine blue, indanthrone, some quin burnt orange and some yellows.  I thought I’d taken a photo of it at that stage, but turns out I didn’t, or I can’t find it!  anyway…  I thought it needed more definition to show seeds and light shining on it, so I risked putting on another layer of color and I think it worked.

Here’s the reference photo: 2014-07-025



Better Days Ahead

"Better Days Ahead".  Sunflower watercolor by Rachel Murphree

“Better Days Ahead”.  Watercolor Sunflowers painted from life. Click on image to view larger

This week was my sweet in laws’ 64th wedding anniversary.  Just imagine being married that long!  wow.

It was a quiet day at home because my father in law is recovering from a heart attack and pacemaker implant. While he was in the hospital, my mother in law and I bought sunflowers to cheer us up, so I thought I’d paint them. They were droopy in real life, but that doesn’t matter when painting, I could imagine them vibrant and full of life.

Their better days are in the painting, and our better days are ahead!. Charles is getting stronger every day and we are so thankful.

Painting sunflowers

I’ve been re-evaluating my life recently and decided to make more time for painting and not always have too much on my plate.  It’s been a very good thing for me and for my family!  So here are two pieces I’ve worked on recently.  The flowers are from an exercise in a book called Watercolor Painting: Layer by Layer, and while I’ve learned, I think I want to take the principles embodied in the lesson and paint my own set up or vision, because I”ll be more engaged in the piece.  but I’m reasonably happy with how the flowers came out .  Sunflowers

And here’s the other one, this was not from a book but after researching how to make realistic rocks.