My Love of Lilacs

Sticking my face into a hedge of lilacs is a fond childhood memory. Inhaling deeply, I recall this heady, sweet fragrance confirming that Spring is here. My lilac memories as an adult are a bit of a blur since life took me to multiple geographic locations, some with lilacs and some without.

These flowering, woody plants range in color from magenta to purple to white. The colors symbolize every thing from purity and innocence to love and passion.

I have a longing for lilacs every single year, because they do not grow in our hardiness zone in Phoenix. Buying them locally is a disappointment due to lack of smell. What is a lilac with fragrance?

One year when I was back east visiting my parents in Connecticut, I literally brought a huge bouquet on the plane which took up most of the overhead bin. I was the only one happy about that!

Ask a Craftsman: Lydia on Lilacs – Grow Beautifully
Dcarrick |

Another time, during a business trip to Lake Tahoe, the hotel’s flower shop had an abundance of beautiful, fragrant lilacs. I purchased all of them and requested they be sent to my room. I don’t remember much about that 4 day conference, but I do recall how wonderful my room smelled!

Since I am unable to enjoy lilacs in person, I am inspired to paint them. Recently, my friend, Barbara from Mantel & Table created a gorgeous arrangement with lilacs and wisteria (another thing we cannot grow here). To see her lovely post, click here.

Black amethyst vase of lavender lilacs & wisteria on white mantel
Mantel & Table
Closeup of black amethyst vase of lavender lilacs & wisteria on white mantel with brown mirror
Mantel & Table

I have never painted these flowers before, but I know that it is difficult to capture the color and detail. This weekend, I took a few hours and found an online class by Kelli Folsom on how to paint lilacs. She luckily can pick them from her yard and this is a photo of her still life inspiration.

Kelli Folsom Art

What I love about art and painting is that everyone has their own interpretation. Here is Kelli’s finished version.

Kelli Folsom Art

And here is mine~~again not completely finished yet as I need to noodle it a bit more.

Now that I see these paintings side by side, I have an idea on what I can do to improve mine.

Kelli Folsom recently posted more lilac paintings. Unfortunately they are not subjects of an online class, but the paintings are up for sale on her website. Wish I had some extra cash laying around!

Practice makes perfect so I will be painting many more lilacs! Do you have a flower(s) that you love? That evoke wonderful memories? If so, please share.

Wishing you a Tuesday where you smell lots of flowers!