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Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Piketberg Conebush and other Proteas












Proteas, those hardy plants native to the Western Cape, Southwest Australia, Southeast Asia, Madagascar, New Guinea and New Zealand, have been around since the days of the dinosaurs! Here in the Cape Floral Kingdom 330 species are growing against mountains and in sandy nutrient-poor soils.

Proteas are also cultivated for export around Piketberg, and in my painting I am showing Leacadendron discolor, also known as Piketberg Conebush, a native of the mountain. The leaves protecting the bright pompoms which are the real flowers, are a lovely custard yellow with a reddish tint. This composition has been planned in my studio, so to flank the conebushes I have painted in smaller proteas which are found next to the coast: Leucospernum tomentosum (Saldanha Pincushions) and Protea scolymocephala (witskollie). May I just mention that identification is extremely difficult, so if anybody does not agree with my identification, please join the discussion!

I am showing another painting, a large watercolour which I painted in 1993. Large open flowers of Protea cynaroides, South Africa's national flower are shown with the popular Protea repens which never opens completely.

13 comments:

  1. Oh Marie! These are beautiful! I always love when I see something a bit different from one of my artist blogger buddies. Your flowers are just amazing in their intricate details and in their colors. I always love learning something new (though I rarely retain it these days). For some reason, those guard leaves remind me of artichokes!

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  2. Marie these are such beautiful paintings!

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  3. Thanks for showing us the originals of the species. I only saw the hybrids at Kirstenboch Gardens during my visit and some in Port Alfred which I painted. Clever you knowing the botanical names for the different varieties growing naturally.

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  4. I didn't know they were such an ancient bloom. I have always loved the look of proteas, so exotic. You are quite skilled with watercolor also! I am so impressed!

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  5. Love your Leacadendron discolor Marie, and your 1993 Protea cynaroides is absolutely stunning! Well done!

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  6. Beautiful rendition of these interesting flowers. I really enjoyed the history...amazing that they have existed so long. Lovely watercolor as well.

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  7. Thank you for the info on proteas. I used to buy them at Wollies but since I'm back in Canada I have not been able to find any at the florist. Beautiful paintings!

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  8. Just one word " stunning" to describe these beautiful paintings Marie

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  9. So glad I stopped by. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your travels as well as the information re plant species and the history of a region I can only dream about visiting! Your accompanying paintings are beautiful and I will be back to experience more through this travelogue. Thank you!

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  10. Beautiful plants and beautiful painting. I was not aware of this lovely bloom..more interesting facts from Marie. You must spend as much time researching as you do painting.

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  11. 人必須心懷希望,才會活的快樂,日子才過得充實,有意義,有朝氣,有信心。 ..................................................

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  12. These are so gorgeous!!! The last time I was at the arboretum I took a million reference photos of proteas...they look like they'd be a lot of fun to paint!

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  13. Thank you for these lovely comments!

    Yes,Sherry, especially the ones that do not open like Protea repens, look like artichokes!

    Thank you, Linda. Joan, I would like to see some of the proteas you painted, and Angela, I hope you get round to painting from your photos! I am glad that they were in the arboretum!

    Carol, you must never think that I do a lot of research....we have these things around us and grow up with them!

    Sheila, I lectured at the Bellville Art Centre during the 90's. The name of my course was "Flowers in Watercolour"....so I was a watercolourist first!

    Thank you Maree, Kathy and Catherine!

    I cannot read my foreign message...is there a way to do this?

    Jan, thank you for visiting and reading my older posts...one likes to know that they are not forgotten after a while.

    Ato Z....no more Woollies!!!! But is there a family member in South Africa who can take you some proteas when they visit? They travel well!

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