Flowers Watercolor Exercise – Nasturtium

flowers watercolor exercise of nasturtium
Flowers exercise (nasturtium) by Leora Wenger, 2014, watercolor, cray pas and pencil on paper
This Flowers watercolor exercise is from a book called One Watercolor a Day. The exercise is to observe some favorite flowers, paint the petals in bright colors, then add contrasting colors to the background. I then added wax crayon and pencil marks (also part of the exercise) to add a bit of line for detail. The flowers I observed are the nasturtium (edible) growing between our sidewalk and street that I planted in June.

Note that the idea is not to get a botanical depiction of a nasturtium – for that, I probably would have done several pencil sketches first and concentrating on one flower. For me, it was to get lose and easy with watercolor yet still display the subject with some amount of realism and observation.

I am hoping I can continue doing watercolors and watercolor exercises – maybe if I aim for at least once a month, I’ll be successful at production!

Have a G’mar Chatimah Tova to all of those who observe Yom Kippur (Friday night to Saturday), and have a great weekend to everyone. The following week is the holiday of Sukkot, so I will be putting my creativity into decorating our Sukkah (and maybe some creativity into cooking as well).

Nasturtium and Oh If I had Time

If I had time, I would write these posts:

  • Review of The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit, by Lucette Lagnado, a fine, moving, fascinating book
  • Review of Isaac’s Torah, by Angel Wagenstein
  • Millet Pilaf recipe or my nickname for it, millaf
  • About braces? And kids?

I have had time to putter in the garden, and so our family has enjoyed salad with nasturtium and nasturtium flowers.

Review with Nasturtium and Rudbeckia

rudbeckia and nasturtium
Rudbeckia in foreground and Orange Nasturtium in the back

Busy, crazy week – birthday boom bash for my daughter on Sunday, busy, busy, busy with work, then this morning my daughter wakes up with a fever and a virus! The nerve of her – I hope she gets better soon. She is missing the last two days of school.

Where the Fortress Looms: After discovering the fabled Ruin Rui in Ruins, Patrick finds mutated pins and dead racers everywhere. Bruce is the last rebel left. Or is he?

Elsewhere in the Blogosphere

  • Ilana-Davita teaches us about the philosophy questions in France. Here are a few: Can a scientific truth be dangerous? Can art exist without rules? Is the role of a historian to judge?
  • Ima2Seven called this post Health Nuts but of course I think the people who are nuts are the ones eating the junk food. It’s been a big struggle for me to get my family to eat healthier. I told my daughter I wanted to bring apples and carrots for a party (not being totally serious), and she told me the other kids would laugh at her (they seriously would).
  • Dr. Weil on ADHD Without Drugs
  • Jew Wishes reviewed The Story of a Life by Aharon Appelfeld.
  • Therapy Doc writes about depression and loss in I’m Not Depressed.

Nature Notes: Stalwart Flowers, Foliage

Is this azalea confused? Doesn’t it know it’s fall, not spring?

Just in time for cold autumn weather, we have one vibrant nasturtium flower. Our groundhogs ate our nasturtium in July, so we did not have the pleasure of nasturtium in salad this past summer. But we caught two ground hogs mid-summer and set in them loose in Johnson Park; we also installed two molar pest repellers, which seem to have discouraged more nasturtium-eaters from our garden. So by late August the flowers grew back, but not in time for a bountiful summer crop.

Happy are the sedum in my garden!

Here is information from Michelle, our Nature Notes host, about fall foliage:

The major factor influencing autumn leaf color change is the lack of water. Not a lack of water to the entire tree, but a purposeful weaning of water from each leaf. Lack of water to each leaf causes a very important chemical reaction to stop.

Photosynthesis, or the food-producing combination of sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide, is eliminated. Chlorophyll must be renewed (by photosynthesis) or be taken in by the tree along with photosynthetic sugar. Thus chlorophyll disappears from the leaves.

The variation in foliage — the shades of red, purple, bronze, yellow and orange — is all about pigment and what type each tree carries.

Carotene (the pigment found in carrots and corn) causes maples, birches, and poplars to turn yellow.

The brilliant reds and oranges in this fall landscape are due to anthocyanins.

Tannins give the oak a distinctively brown color.

The best colors show up when we have cool nights, bright sunny days and low humidity.

My neighbor’s burning bush: I get such a kick out of the name of this plant.

For more nature notes, visit:

nature-note or Nature Notes


A while back when I planted my nasturtium seeds, I posted a watercolor of nasturtium, because I had no pictures of one. Now my garden is full of these pretty orange or yellow edible flowers, so I spent some time Friday afternoon photographing one in particular. The shooting mode of this chosen photo is called “Aperture Priority.” Setting a lower aperture value blurs a bit the background behind the subject.

A Salad Lover’s Flower

nasturtium watercolor by Leora Wenger
Do like salads? Do you like elegant salads? Do you like the idea of being able to go to your backyard (or a container for plants, if you don’t have a backyard) and pick a pretty flower and round, green, tangy leaves to put in your salad?

In order to present to you nasturtium, the flower pictured in this watercolor, I wanted to show you a picture of this edible plant. Instead of showing a photograph, I decided to do a watercolor. When you paint, unlike in a photograph, you can choose what you want to present. So I decided to emphasize the flowers (which will become pretty petals of orange, yellow or red in your salad) and the round-shaped leaves.

The nasturtium seed looks like a shriveled chickpea. It grows easily: all you need to do is poke it with your finger into the ground. Don’t plant nasturtium where you have precious grass; the nasturtium plant will take over, and come frost time you’ll have a bare spot where you used to have grass. But I find it fairly easy to grow. The first summer I tried there was a drought in New Jersey, and these plants did not do well. But recently we’ve had a lot of rain, and my little germinated nasturtium plants are already sticking two round little leaves out of the ground.

More about nasturtium here.