Thursday, February 6, 2014

How to Draw Natural Flowers Indoors?

Natural Tulips, Paula Kuitenbrouwer at 

Coloured Pencils on Gesso Whiteboard.

Recently my husband gave me white tulips. I have no idea about your local varieties, but our Dutch tulips look boring for the first few days. In a flower vase, they stand rather lifeless and stiff with chemicals, as if made of plastic. A few days later, after the chemicals have lost their preservative power, the tulips turn natural. They take an individual position, more colours appear, and they become enchanting. A bit later, they start to wilt and then they are most beautiful. The leaves and petals sag or hang low. They become beautifully three dimensional and natural, as if the wind and sun have played with them. At that moment, I grab my sketchbook to capture their wavy, curvy and curly shape.

Poor tulips, being so poisoned with preservatives! The floral industry doesn’t have to do this for me; on the contrary, I do not enjoy the boring, long vase-life of flowers. I love it when flowers make you intensely enjoy them because they will be here only briefly. That is nature. It is also the impermanence of flowers that urges us to be alert and appreciative. I don’t need long-lasting, plastic-looking tulips, because as long as they look like that, I tend to ignore them. I need living flowers that behave naturally and enchant me with their natural smell, colour and form. My tulip drawings show my love for natural flowers; they are free to grow old, to be individual, and to behave as if the elements have touched them.

Some of us have had enough of the food industry and turn to seasonal, local, slow and organic food. Some of us have had enough of the fashion and clothing industry, and buy second-hand or organic clothing only. The next step is buying flowers that grow without preservatives, and smell and look the way they should smell and look. Hurrah to the short or even one-day natural bloom that causes a sensation.
Paula Kuitenbrouwer at 


  1. What a beautiful verbal and visual description of the wilting process. I didn't even know store-bought flowers contained preservatives … fortunately for me virtually all the flowers I see are natural. I love all the stages; buds, opening, blossoms, wilt, and the seed heads.

  2. Elva, you are blessed with having natural flowers. For many city-dwellers there is even a rule: wash your hands after putting supermarket flowers in a vase. This, sadly, takes the romantic feelings away. Luckily, after a while, the flowers reclaim their natural shape.

  3. Elva, you are lucky having so many natural flowers. Supermarket flowers demand even washing your hands after putting them in a vase. Better grow them in your own garden! Or, for city dwellers, in a balcony pot-garden.


We'd love to hear from you, your questions, comments, observations! Please feel free to comment, feedback is important to us.