In the Studio: Sunwashed Floral Watercolors

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

In the Studio:  Sunwashed Floral Watercolors-

As the summer comes to a close I am spending more time in the studio.  Lately, I've been working with watercolors to create these expressive floral paintings of favorite blooms.  They reflect a sunwashed summer palette of dusty blues, pale golden yellows and faded coral pinks.

These are iphone photos that I've posted on my art studio's Instagram feed @gildedbloomstudio.   Feel free to follow me there to see more art in process!

In the Studio:  Sunwashed Floral Watercolors-

This sunflower is a soft and muted version of the bright yellow blooms that grace the garden in August and September.  The pale gold and yellow ochre petals make a subtle statement.

In the Studio:  Sunwashed Floral Watercolors-

In this painting of a hydrangea dusty teal blues are emphasized for decorative effect.

In the Studio:  Sunwashed Floral Watercolors-
Here, layers of watercolor washes form the petals of this coral pink peony...

In the Studio:  Sunwashed Floral Watercolors-

And finally, a few iridescent gold accents are added to the center of the flower...

Farmhouse Floral with Golden Sunflowers

Monday, August 21, 2017

Farmhouse Floral with Sunflowers -

As September approaches I am bringing warm and vivid hues into the home for early fall.  Golden sunflowers, rust Peruvian lily, green hydrangeas and chamomile provide a vibrant mix of color in this rustic farmhouse floral arrangement.

Creating a design like this is simple with the right flowers and container.  Choosing flowers that have a textural quality like sunflowers, wildflowers or grasses will give a country aesthetic as they appear to come from the fields rather than the florist.  Weathered terra cotta, copper, or galvanized steel containers all suggest a rustic style and complement the beauty of farmhouse decor.

Farmhouse Floral with Sunflowers -

In this design, the bold yellow blooms of the sunflowers provide a colorful statement in a neutral terra cotta urn and reflect the casual elegance of the country.  To create this look, cut the sunflower stems at different heights and insert them into the vase of water.  Then add the hydrangeas between the sunflowers and fill in with Peruvian lily and chamomile.

Chamomile- Farmhouse Floral with Sunflowers -

Sprays of blossoming chamomile interspersed throughout the vase add an element of texture and a sprinkle of light to the otherwise richly colored flowers.

Farmhouse Floral with Sunflowers -

Rust Peruvian lilies balance the use of gold and set off the more dominant sunflowers in this design.

Chicken Paintings-

In addition to bringing farmhouse style into the home I've also been bringing it into the studio lately!  These are a few recent watercolor studies of chickens that I've painted to explore the colorful beauty of their feathers.   Enjoy!

Styling an August Appetizer Party

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Styling and August Appetizer Party-

Creating a memorable table for an informal occasion is very easy to do by using a basic floral centerpiece,  a few meaningful touches in the table setting, and a tray of starters.   These tips will help keep it simple while still making it special for your guests.

Last week we had friends over for wine and appetizers.  To set a casual table for four I used a rustic mix of melamine plates and textural linens in warm spicy colors with amber goblets.

Styling and August Appetizer Party-

For an inviting centerpiece only one kind of flower was presented in multiple vases.  This floral styling technique is much less complicated than creating a mixed arrangement!  Varied vases were filled with coral Peruvian lily blooms and displayed on a circular embossed tray which matched the plates.  Peruvian lilies are a colorful variety that last for nearly 10 days with proper care.  In fact, they are still alive and well as I write this post!

Styling and August Appetizer Party-

Also, it is fun to include a few elements in the table decor that are meaningful and spark conversation.  These napkin rings were made by Jes MaHarry who is a featured artist at Sundance. We visited Sundance Resort in Utah a few summers ago and this post recalls our trip.  I will always remember taking a class at the Art Shack and all of the creativity and beauty there.  The napkins are from the General Store at the resort and have a rich mix of cinnamon and amber hues on weathered muslin fabric. They remind me so much of Utah...

Styling and August Appetizer Party-

Finally, the most important part of creating a memorable event is to keep the food uncomplicated so that you can enjoy your guests.   I chose to present all the appetizers on the large tray placed on a turntable for simple serving.  These appetizers were easy to prepare beforehand so I could join the party!

Styling and August Appetizer Party-

I hope you will consider styling and hosting an appetizer party of your own.  It such an easy and fun way to entertain good friends at home.

Collecting Artful Floral Containers

Friday, July 28, 2017

Collecting Artful Floral Containers-

There is something so sublime about the combination of flowers and exquisite pots or vases.  It is a beautiful marriage of nature and art.  Lately, I've been starting to enlarge my collection of floral pots and vases while I pass on those that no longer suit my style to others.  Because the vase closet is only so large, I've been carefully selecting a few new treasures that will complement different rooms of our home during each season of the year.  You'll soon be seeing them all filled with flowers if you follow along!

Collecting Artful Floral Containers-

Creating a beautiful floral arrangement really does start with choosing the right vase.  The shape, color and texture of the vessel make a huge difference in the overall design.  If you too are planning to develop a collection of containers for floral designs, consider these options for maximum style and versatility.

  • Choose at least one pedestal vase.  These are elegant, modern and show off draping vines beautifully.

Collecting Artful Floral Containers-

  • Have a series of matching vases or pots on hand for centerpieces that extend down a rectangular table.  

Collecting Artful Floral Containers-

  • Choose at least one metal container and find a glass vase that will fit inside to hold fresh flowers.

Collecting Artful Floral Containers-

  • Select a series of mismatched bottles, pots, or vases.  These can be used individually or in a grouping.

Collecting Artful Floral Containers-

As a final thought, I'd like to share the work of celebrated ceramicist and gardener Frances Palmer.  Many of her beautiful original pots are on my current wish list!  Her stunning vases and breathtaking garden flowers can be seen on Instagram @francespalmer or on her website at  These inventive ceramic pots truly set the standard for modern artisan floral vessels and are gorgeous in every way.  If you're not yet familiar with her work, you can read all about it in the summer issue of Garden Design magazine which features an eloquent article about her pots and plants with lovely photography by Ngoc Minh Ngo.

Garden Design Magazine- Summer 2017 Issue

Also, if you have not yet subscribed to Garden Design magazine, it is a wonderful source of inspiration and friends of The Gilded Bloom will get the first issue free! There are no ads in Garden Design and each issue is filled with gorgeous gardens, informative text and outstanding photography. To subscribe go to or call (855) 624-5110 Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm PST. Be sure to mention The Gilded Bloom to get your free issue!

Disclosure:  This post contains an affiliate link which means that if you choose to subscribe through the link provided The Gilded Bloom will receive compensation.

Dreaming of Dahlias...

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Pink Dahlia-

It is almost dahlia season and the garden is filled with budding plants.  Dahlias are my favorite late summer flower and every year I add a new variety or two just to watch them bloom and enjoy their beauty in the hot August sun.  They are one of the few flowers that happily endure our warm summer temperatures as long as they have a bit of shade.  Also a stunning cut flower, they are beautiful in arrangements.  

Pink Dahlia-

These soft pink dahlias are from last summer, as I'm still awaiting this year's blooms.  Looking back at the arrangements I created is a way for me to begin planning the designs I will do when the new flowers appear.    

This post features Lavender Perfection dinnerplate dahlias with hydrangeas and roses.  

Summer Dahlia Arrangement- 

The burnt red dahlias in this early autumn floral capture the spirit of the garden as the seasons start to change.  

Fall Dahlia Arrangement-

I always look forward to using dahlias in centerpieces near the end of summer as in this table design

Wine and Mulberry Dahlia Table-

But for now, I'll just dream of dahlias...

Four Favorite Summer Hydrangeas

Monday, June 19, 2017

Hydrangeas provide spectacular summer blooms and now there are many new and unique varieties available.  Here are just a few of my favorites which have been added to the garden over the last year or two.

This blue and white bi-color hydrangea bloomed early this summer and is continuing to produce lovely and dramatic flowers.  The unusual two-tone petals make the blooms appear patterned.

The pastel colors that fuse together in the antique hydrangea called "Magic Carousel" are subtle and varied.  The light green petals, tinged with pink, lavender, and blue provide a touch of powdery color and texture to the shade garden.

Below, the "Pistachio Hydrangea" is shown with its lime and scarlet florets.   This is a very vibrant variety and grows on a hearty bush.

My absolute favorite of all is this "Angel's Parasol Hydrangea".  Its soft lavender petals are tear-shaped and grow into a gorgeous saucer-like bloom.

These are just a few enchanting hydrangeas to consider and there are so many more variations available to grow and enjoy!  To learn more about these stunning summer flowers, be sure to read the outstanding article about hydrangeas in the new summer issue of Garden Design magazine.   It discusses types of hydrangeas, colors, varieties and how hydrangeas can enhance landscape design and floral arrangements.

If you'd like to subscribe, friends of The Gilded Bloom will get the first issue free!  There are no ads in Garden Design and each issue is filled with gorgeous gardens, informative text and stunning photography.  To subscribe go to or call (855) 624-5110 Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm PST.  Be sure to mention The Gilded Bloom to get your free issue!
Disclosure:  This post contains an affiliate link which means that if you choose to subscribe through the link provided The Gilded Bloom will receive compensation.

Early Summer Roses

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Coral Roses- Early Summer Roses-

Roses add a touch of classic beauty to the early summer garden with their lovely colors and sweet scent.  In May ours begin blooming as the air becomes warmer and the sunlight lasts into evening.  Shades of orange, red and yellow fill the patio garden and welcome the beginning of a new season.

Yellow Roses - Early Summer Roses-

We have tree roses in pots, like this vibrant variety which blooms yellow in May then fades to a softer orange tone as the summer progresses.  Others are planted in the garden and create a show of climbing color like those shown below.

Blaze Roses- Early Summer Roses-

These "Blaze" roses are covering the fences now and blooming profusely in the sun.  They are very lightly scented and produce a multitude of blooms per plant.

 Iceberg Roses- Early Summer Roses-

The "Iceberg" roses are also blooming now and their bright white flowers catch the light, making the landscape glow on summer evenings. They are also lovely in arrangements with just a few sprigs of white azalea blossoms.

Early Summer Roses-

Sometimes a single rose in a simple pottery vase is more perfect than any large bouquet could ever be.  This delicate, subtly scented rose is stunning on its own without the distraction of other flowers...
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