When it comes to flowers where I live, there are many that exist in spring and summer and as fall hits, far fewer appear. The flowers I chose today are commonly called black-eyed Susan, though my attempts to google it failed to reveal who Susan actually was, which still creates a bit of intrigue. It was at most, derived from a British poem, but the original owner of the name Susan is still a mystery. I love these flowers. Mostly because they’re perfectly wild and can be seen dotting the edges of highways and pretty much anywhere they decide to plant themselves. And though their season ends in September, you can still spot them until the first freeze, which hasn’t happened here yet. They proudly carry on, waiting for that first signal that their time is well and truly done until spring arrives once more. I love that level of determination, so I’ve always found them inspiring. Sketching flowers is not really my usual fare, but I’ve never sketched a batch of only these particular flowers so I figured now was a good time as any to spotlight them a bit. I used a bit more ink in honor of Inktober for this one, but my approach to watercolor still tends to blend the two a bit thoroughly.

Here, the weather is currently fighting with itself. Today was perfectly cool and undoubtedly fall, yet yesterday was 20 degrees warmer and tomorrow will be 20 degrees warmer as well. After that, the forecasts say that over the next couple of weeks, the temperatures will dip and sway at will, still never quite producing that first freeze. So each black-eyed Susan who is waiting out there will have a few more weeks of life yet. I still remember once when it snowed in October here, so anything is possible really. For my part, I’m ready for it to just to be autumn and bring on that chill in the air! It’s already impossibly dark now, when I used to be watching the sun set while finishing a post. This evening is lovely, as Philippe sits next to me watching his antiques show in French and I’m finishing up my little doodlewash post for the night. Without the glare of daylight, the evening turns a bit more cozy. Soon we’ll be heading into the holiday season and everything will be literally glowing around me. I adore this time of year. It creates moments where smiles are simply mandatory.

And in all of my crazy rushing about and trying new things, this is the one time of year that I find myself truly pausing a bit more. This time of year creates moments that I simply don’t want to miss. Tiny and sometimes perfectly silly moments that happen when you’re left without the sun and must make up your own way to light up an evening. Whether with candles or simply a sly and joyous spirit, together, Philippe and I can create a glow of warmth and happiness that propels us into the New Year. Life just seems to slow down a bit this time of year. Each new day becomes a bit like a fairytale that certainly has a moral to reveal, but all in due time. There’s no good reason to rush through it, but instead, a wonderful excuse to stop and savor each and every loving moment. This is precisely why I love this time of year most. It connects me more than ever to my past and sets the stage for what I hope will be a wonderful future. At least, that’s what I’d like to believe as I pause for just a quiet moment, and enjoy those last few flowers.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, and Indigo (my “Vintage” Trio!).  Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Day 4 - Fall Flowers Watercolor Black-Eyed Susan Jar - Doodlewash

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22 thoughts on “Those Last Few Flowers

  1. Beautiful Black-eyed Susans! Ours are also called Rudbeckia. We have lots of them and they expand every year. They are pretty much past now, but we are still enjoying dahlias, roses and the Limelight hydrangeas, which have turned from cream color to a lovely pink to mauve color. We are getting beautiful fall leaf color from our blueberries, smoke bush, sumac and oak leaf hydrangea. I love the garden at this time of year.

    1. Thanks so much! 😃💕 Yes, they’re called Rudbeckia officially, but my family always called them Black-eyed Susans and I never learned the real name until I was an adult! But your garden sounds lovely and perfectly bursting with color!

  2. You painted the “Susans” and the mason jar extremely well. I love mason jars. I like them because my dad’s name was Mason and he used mason jars for everything. I remember them all lined up, each one housing different sized nails and screws in his work shop. To this day i can’t resist buying them and I put each one to use as well. 🌻🌻🌻🌻🌻

  3. I have a black eyed Susan, two toad lilies and a Japanese anemone still in bloom. Everything else has but the dust. Luckily I have house plants that bloom in winter.

  4. I remember black eyes Susans from when we lived in New Jersey – not sure if we have them in California – but your painting is lovely. I especially like the stems in the water.

    Rained here early this morning (Thursday as I write) – the first rainfall in many months.

    1. Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 Yeah, I’m not sure how far these little flowers travel. But good to know you’re getting a bit of rain. We’re due for a very rainy weekend here. Perfect time to stay indoors and paint I guess!

  5. My husband and I were on a walk yesterday and we went by a bush of dead black eyed Susan’s and he points and says, “what’s wrong with them?” in such a sad voice. I suppose he is denying the lovely weather that is coming, and wants flowers to keep flourishing all year long!

  6. I was thinking the other day about how the colors of the flowers in NYS change with the season…going from more pastel colors in Spring to deeper colors as you go through summer transitioning to the golds and maroons and orange colors of Autumn. Sure do miss that seasonal change. Black Eyed Susans have alwaysbeen one of my favorites.

  7. I was Maryland born and raised (transplanted now to WV) and when I saw those black-eyed susans, my heart gave a leap.. The black-eyed susan is the Maryland state flower.
    I think it got its name from John Gay’s poem of that name
    “276. Black-Eyed Susan
    John Gay (1685–1732)

    ” ALL in the Downs the fleet was moor’d,
    The streamers waving in the wind,
    When black-eyed Susan came aboard;
    ‘O! where shall I my true-love find?
    Tell me, ye jovial sailors, tell me true 5 ”
    If my sweet William sails among the crew.’

    That is what we learned in school and judging by the date of the poem it sounds possible since it is a North American flower. The thing that makes me wonder is the mention of sweet William which is a European flower and had been named prior to the poem. It doesn’t matter at all because your painting ‘takes me home’. Many thanks to you, my friend.

    1. Aww yay! That’s the poem that gets credit for the name indeed! 😃💕 But we still don’t really know who Susan was that made John think of her. I’m intrigued by that bit. And so thrilled this brought back such wonderful memories!

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