Datura or angel’s trumpet flowers used to grow in profusion in front of my studio window when I first arrived in Antigua in the 80s. Their gorgeous creamy-orange flowers inspired many of my paintings, including one in acrylic which is also featured on the website – and is one of my favorites, mainly due to its simplicity.
Their long, bell-like structures lend themselves very well to the portrait format and the drip technique I like to use in some of my watercolors. This one is painted on the heavy Arches deckle-edged paper I favor, so it was a pleasure to allow the paint to flow, aided by gravity. The final effect is quite striking.
The deceptively beautiful Datura or angel’s trumpet flowers and their seeds are poisonous: Datura belongs to the classic “witches’ weeds”, which include deadly nightshade, henbane and mandrake. Considered an essential ingredient of special potions and witches’ brews, the hallucinogenic property of Datura or angel’s trumpet was a well-known cause of delirium and even death. Aphrodisiac properties have also been attributed to Datura. The name apparently comes from the sanskrit for “thorn apple” and Nathaniel Hawthorne, in his book “The Scarlet Letter”, refers to one type as “apple-peru”.
The colors of the flowers vary between pure white (they are also sometimes known as “moonflowers” and an almost deep orange, with shades of cream, pink, yellow and tangerine in between. They can grow into large bushes or even small trees of over 2m, which are quite spectacular.
Watercolor on Arches acid-free 650gm deckle-edged paper 22×30″ 56x75cm.