Don Hyatt's Native Azaleas in Watercolor
Rhododendron prunifolium

Since I've been teaching at Jefferson, I really haven't painted very much. Just too busy, I guess. In August of 2001 when one of my native azaleas, Rhododendron prunifolium, started to bloom, I decided to get out the paint brush and and see if I could paint its portrait. It took me about three days from starting sketches to final painting on a rough-textured French watercolor paper. I was pleased with the picture and honored that it received the First Place Award in the Rhododendron Art Show at the American Rhododendron Society / Azalea Society of America Joint National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia (April 2002). I received a number of honors there including the prestigious ARS Silver Medal Award, my photograph of Rhododendron Calendulaceum on Roan Mountain won First Place in Landscape Photography, and my article, Best of the Best: In Search of Native Azaleas, tied for best article in the 2001 issues of the ASA Journal, "The Azalean". What a weekend!

Rhododendron prunifolium is a wonderful native azalea, blooming in late July or August in for me in Washington D.C., but sometimes it will still be flowering in September or even later. Originially discovered in Georgia in 1913, it is still relatively rare but is finally being offered by some specialty nurseries now. For more information on this azalea and photographs of plants in the wild, check out my web page on Rhododendron prunifolium or the full site on East Coast Native Azaleas. I have a goal now to paint all fifteen azaleas native to the eastern United States during the next few years. I have several pictures underway including R. atlanticum, R. austrinum, and R. vaseyi. I expect to complete those as well as R. arborescens, R. calendulaceum, and R. cumberlandense by the end 2002. I have trusses of R. canescens and R. periclymenoides in the refrigerator hoping to make botanical studies before I leave for a trip to Scotland, but getting all of those done this year may be a bit ambitious. I will try to post portraits of my native azalea paintings as I complete the watercolors.

Rhododendron prunifolium

Native Azalea - R. prunifolium

Original Watercolor

Limited Edition Prints

Copyright © 2001 Donald W. Hyatt