Sally Robertson has the rare talent of being an exceptional artist and fabulous gardener. She tends her garden and paints her watercolors in charming Bolinas, California.

She paints the flowers from her garden and is particularly well known for her orchids.  For many, many years she created the artwork for the posters of the Pacific Orchid Expositions. But she has also done some wonderful watercolors of roses, which is why I recently revisited my photo file of her garden to pull out some examples of bouquets for the new rose book.

Sally Robertson Watercolor of roses by bouquet in her garden

Sally Robertson Watercolor of roses and a bouquet of roses in her garden

I am easily distracted. While going through photos I remembered photographing this brown Cymbidium orchid in a pot by her front door, recalling how the flowers glowed.

Cattleya orchid flowering in pot by door, Sally Robertson's California cottage garden

I thought of a way to highlight the flowers using the extraction technique I am learning. My last extraction was this Toyon, and the entire concept was drawn from Sally’s work where the flowers seem to come out of the picture in a three-dimensional effect, as in the rose watercolor above.

When I started to play with Sally’s orchid I thought I might do a full extraction, dull down the background, and mask out the flower spray.

Before and After Slider


That didn’t seem quite right, so I made a window into the Photoshop layer and let the flowers shine, leaving the leaves and background de-saturated.


Cymbidium orchid flowering in pot by door, Sally Robertson's California cottage garden

Now the flowers shine, just the way they caught my eye that morning in Sally’s garden.

OK Saxon, now buckle down and finish the rose book.  The preorders are already coming in…