Australian Flannel Flowers Illustration ~ First On the Drawing Board for 2017!

Australian Flannel Flowers in watercolour ~ My current commission, the first on the drawing board for 2017!

To break in my return to the studio this new year, I have been spending some time exploring the gorgeous Australian Flannel Flowers (Actinotus helianthi) a long time favourite wildflower of mine, and one Ive had on my ‘must paint list’ for far too long. Continuing on with my illustrated series of unique Australian wildflowers for Australian Geographic, the Flannel Flower is a perfect addition to the collection and a delicate start to what promises to be an exciting year ahead.

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Getting out and spending some time in the field over the Christmas break was so fantastic. Despite the heat I did a lot of hiking and exploring of the great outdoors, so great for mind, body, spirit… and for my work as well. Pink Robins, carpets of flannel flower lined forests, lyrebirds, echidnas and even platypus were to be found! Breathtaking scenery, torrential rain, beating sun, hooded woven birds nests and pockets of Christmas Bells over heathland sandstone rock shelves were all amongst my constant delightful discoveries. Cameras at the ready, I certainly have wildflowers and painting on my mind. How I love my work and life!

heidi willis_botanical_Natural history artist

So returning to the brushes this week, I broke the ice of the Christmas break away from the studio and began exploring a small spray of the flannel flowers. This sweet little botanical study is a small section of the larger commission Ive just begun, the first for 2017. The flannel flowers have proved to be a surprisingly challenging subject, so the practice certainly didn’t go astray and before long I started to find my flow again… mission accomplished!

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(small Flannel Flower original SOLD)

Now that the small botanical study is complete, work has just commenced on the larger watercolour commission (A4 or 210x300mm in size) Starting with the delicate blue green furry leaves, you can follow the progress here as it develops through to completion. For a better look at its evolution, watch this short time lapse clip of how it comes together

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Flannel Flower illustration in progress

Completed Flannel Flower botanical illustration, A4, rendered in watercolour

(A4 Flannel Flower original SOLD)