Monday, September 7, 2009


Not long after, the Texas legislators discovered that there were actually several varieties of “Bluebonnets” in the state. Unfortunately, the “Lupinus Subcarnosus” named in the resolution turned out to be the least attractive of all the varieties. Turned out the Dames really were thinking about the “Lupinus Texensis”, which is much bolder and showier, and covers most of Texas. It is a much prettier blue, and is the subject of the ever-popular Texas Bluebonnet landscape painting.

Once the legislators discovered that they had declared the wrong Bluebonnet variety to be the Texas “State Flower”, they began to debate how they should correct this error. This debate lasted for decades! They didn’t want to offend the supporters of the “Lupinus Subcarnosus” (though there were few of them), so in 1971 they came up with what they thought was a compromise that would solve the problem. They decided to attempt to lump the two Bluebonnet species together, plus “any other variety of Bluebonnet not heretofore recorded.”

Little did they know that there were at least three other species of Bluebonnets, and more have been discovered since then….so that makes them ALL Texas “State Flowers”.

(To be continued…)

Sunday, August 23, 2009


My favorite Bluebonnet and Live Oak landscape. I painted this one quite a few years ago, before I took a break to go back to work full-time. I painted it in watercolor, of course - that's my medium. I've tried other mediums (oils, pastels, etc), but nothing compares to watercolors, in my eyes.


One of the most popular companion wildflowers to the Bluebonnet is the Indian Paintbrush. Most Indian Paintbrush are a bright orangey-red...but did you know there is a PINK variety? It's very pretty, and hard to find!

Monday, August 17, 2009


One of my single Bluebonnet studies.


A Mr. John Green, of Cureo, first suggested that the Bluebonnet would be the best choice. His suggestion was taken up by a formidable group of Texas women, the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in Texas. They believed that the Bluebonnet would represent the State of Texas most appropriately as its official state flower. To demonstrate their enthusiasm, they acquired a Bluebonnet painting by Miss Mode Walker of Austin and presented it to the Legislature. Ms. Walker produced some really lovely Bluebonnet studies - you can Google her to see her work.

The Dames were a formidable force, and eventually they got their wish. When the Twenty-seventh Legislature passed the initial resolution on March 7, the “State Flower” was declared to be the “Lupinus Subcarnosus” – the “Bluebonnet”, also known as the “Buffalo Clover”, or the “wolf flower”. The Mexicans called the flower “el conejo”. Texas Governor Joseph D. Sayers signed the resolution. Thus began a seventy year debate over the Bluebonnet, known as the “Bluebonnet Wars”.

(To be continued…)


The live Bluebonnet photos in this blog were all taken from "free photo" sites.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


It all started in the Spring of 1901. The Texas Legislature decided it was time to declare a “State Flower”. This led to a (polite) war that lasts to this day, and caused the State of Texas to end up with five (maybe six) “State Flowers”. All of them, however, are Bluebonnets!

Anyway, back to the Texas Legislature. Some legislators were in favor of naming the “cotton bowl” as the “State Flower”, since cotton was a very valuable cash crop, and was considered “king” in those days.

One interesting character was named John Nance Garner, a vocal and ambitious legislator from Uvalde, Texas. Mr. Garner was in favor of naming the cactus as the “State Flower”. He reasoned that the cactus was extremely hardy, and often had beautiful blooms in many vivid colors. And besides, they were everywhere you stepped in those days. Never mind that they were a menace to cattle and bare feet. Mr. Garner was so determined in his support that he became known as “Cactus Jack”. This name stuck with him for the rest of his life – even when he became Vice President of the United States.

(To be continued…)

Monday, August 3, 2009


I've always found Bluebonnets difficult to paint because they have so many small parts. The seeds are in the lower part of each "bonnet". As the lower "bonnets" mature and dry up, they release the Bluebonnet seeds, which fall to the ground and (hopefully) make new Bluebonnets next year.

Monday, July 27, 2009


This blog sprung from the many years I've been working on one of our favorite Texas flowers, the Bluebonnet. I decided to create a blog with lots of Bluebonnet information, history, paintings, and photos. I've been painting them for thirty years, trying different styles, different colors, different compositions. All in watercolor, my favorite medium. I'm never satisfied. Maybe that's a good thing. I paint Bluebonnets as commissions, gifts, for galleries, and for art festivals.