Flower Essence Watercolor Impressions
Shelly Mortensen

(First published in the August 2002 online issue of Vibration Magazine)

Each flower holds a distinct positive energy pattern that corresponds to a specific physical, mental, emotional or spiritual imbalance. With the sun method of preparation, the flower transfers an etheric imprint; nothing that can be seen under a regular microscope. The sun, upon striking the water, melds into the water the life force of the flower, and this is transferred to people when they assimilate these vibrational essences. As a source of balance and well-being, flower essences help us identify, understand and transform the emotional blocks, limiting mental attitudes or the patterns of behavior which are responsible for much of our distress and disease and which hinder our full development or potential. Flower essences are a vibrational therapy representing the life force shaped into a particular pattern, so they are an educational principle that attunes people to their natural harmonics with nature.

Dr. Edward Bach was an English physician who lived in the early 20th century. His
research and life have inspired many people. With his genius and deep dedication to
humanity he reintroduced the very ancient system of using flower essences in healing
and conscious growth. My love of nature has brought me to study and appreciate Dr. Bach's
work. Many others use and produce flower essences world wide. These essences have nothing
to do with fragrance. It is energy and vibration, which is how we see color.

Snap Dragon with
tap water...

Snap Dragon with
essence water...

All objects absorb or reflect light of certain frequencies in a way that is particular to it. The light reflected results in the color we see. The paradox of color is that, while it exists only in light, light itself seems colorless to the human eye. All objects that appear to have color are merely reflectors or transmitters of that color in the light that illuminates them.

Flowers are especially sensitive to color reflection as witnessed by their many hues and vibrant displays. When the energy of flowers is fused with water to make an essence, it releases its ethereal patterning and shares it secrets for our health, spiritual well being…and for instruction through watercolor painting.

While working with flower essences for my own well being, it was
suggested that I try using the essence with my watercolor pigment. I had been doing watercolor painting with tap water for ten years by that time. The results of sketches using flower esssences were very positive. There was a difference in how the watercolor pigment vibrated on the paper. I have used a dozen or more varieties to date with marked results.

Chamomile with tap water

Chamomile with essence water

This concept is not really as farfetched as one may think; it is energy and vibration which is how we see color. Technically, light triggers the functional activity of the eye. As a form of radiant energy traveling at 186,000 miles per second, light illuminates the way, making sight possible. When you think of light you can also think of color. For ordinary visible light, the kind our eyes are sensitive to, has a frequency of about 600 trillion waves striking your eyeballs every second.

Pointillism, George Seurat's, Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, is a good example of the idea of color and vibrational qualities. The artist realized, after studying the theories of Helmholtz and Chevreul and the colors of the spectrum, that by painting little dots of primary colors, very closely together, the vibration of these colors would meld or juxtapose together when viewing them from a distance, into what would appear to be new colors. This concept was developed in the 1880's. Seurat's method, divisionism, is related to development of modern four-color printing in which tiny dots of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink are printed together in various amounts on white paper to achieve the effect of full color. It works like an optical illusion to vibrate the blending of those four colors into new colors.

Results of Essences with Watercolors:

Each essence mixed with the watercolor pigment and water presents its own vibrational challenges as you apply it to the paper. For example, the California Poppy was so active and electric it was hard to see the work I was doing because of a kind of electric glare that was feeding back. Heather was very resistive and willful wanting to take on its won personality on the paper. Considering the properties they each represent it was a match but still somewhat surprising to experience. This only encouraged my interest more. As I have developed this theory, I have been matching California Far North Coast Landscapes with the proper vibrational essence to enhance its being.

The two paintings you see here are of the Simpson Pulp Mill in Eureka, California. The one below was done using tap water. The one on the right was done using heather essence.

              California Poppy             

Below are some of the stories of my experiences using watercolors and flower essences. It is an interesting experiment to take a moment to look at each accompanying painting before reading about its making and the essence that was used.

Bay Laurel Essence:

There was no hesitation on Easter Morning when I climbed Trinidad Head to
paint. I knew this special place was a point of departure for my new watercolor
theory and work. The Trinidad area had been inhabited by Indians for hundreds
of years before the Spanish erected their cross claiming Trinidad Harbor,
California in 1775. There is a very strong grandmother connection with this powerful essence
and this outcropping in the Pacific Ocean. A 500 year old bay laurel tree reside on the bluff over
looking the original Indian Village.

Working with the Bay Laurel essence is like a good, long, meditation. It takes you to places you are connected to on the inner planes. It is the light navigator that helps you to know your direction. It lights the path with radiant light of your god presence.

This essence is no shrinking violet or wallflower. It puts it out there, right now and goes straight for the top. I had to cool it down, on occasion, to get any subtle color at all.

Forget-me-not Essence:

I used the Forget-Me-Not essence for the tribute to Julia Butterfly's efforts to
save the Ancient Redwoods. This essence is used for stimulating mental focus
and insight. It is also helpful to overcome feelings of abandonment following
the loss of a loved one. It strengthens bonds between mothers and babies.

I was very impatient with the watercolor I did using the forget- me - not. I
wanted to be done and move on to the next one but the forget - me - not
essences would have none of that. It was clear from the beginning that the
pigment would not travel very far on the paper which had been soaked with the essence of forget-me-not. The pigments stood fast under the pressure of the brush. When I thought I was done with the image, the forget-me-not essence "called" me back again and again to add detail and observe more. Finally, it was done but I will never forget being called back to finish, again and again.

Lotus Essence:

What a surprise the Lotus Blossom was to work with. I really thought it was
going to be very light, airy and fairy - like. I expected cotton candy pink visions
with rose haze highlights, because that is how the Lotus blossom smells. What I
got was the reality of the Lotus: MUD. Wonderful, rich, deep, soulful MUD.
It prevailed no matter how careful I was to protect the light. It wanted to express it's mudfulness. The dense, thickness of the leaf and the sucking of the nutrients of the watery earth impacted me as I painted. I felt humbled before it. However, the painting did settle down to a very soft, pixie dust- like, cotton candy that I had suspected all along but was hidden in the mud. Now it comes through in a cloud like glow. Soft, but dense like a mushroom, which grows near the mud.

Trillium Essence:

This vibrational essence was made under a full moon during the Hale Bop
Comet. On the paper, it was very focused and the pigments did not move. When
you use watercolor pigment with tap water, moving the pigment and diluting it is
how you get the varying tones of the different colors. Even adding more water
hardly fazed the pigment. That is why this particular depiction is so vibrant compared to some of the softer essence images. I took risks with water that I never took before, just to test it. Beautiful color mixes can be made with trillium essence as it is steadfast. Deeply rich colors express themselves, much to my delight.

The Trillium revealed another of it's secrets. SAND! It is like sand! It is porous like sand and dries out extremely quick and hard. I was amazed when I looked at my palette, after not have painted for a few days. It was very, very dry. Here on the North Coast, we have serious mold/dampness problems. Nothing dries out. It is also like sand when it is wet. It is not very moveable. It became grainy when it dried on my watercolor paper. I will admit I helped it by using pigments that lend themselves that way, but only after this essence showed me it's propensity for the effect.

The individual flower essences gave me a way to express myself in watercolor that I could not obtain or achieve with tap water. The neutrality of the tap water made it an excellent conductor but for that very same reason it constricts also. With tap water's neutrality, I always had to take the lead. Flower essences open up the gateway to a myriad of expressions through their vibrational qualities. It is like going into uncharted waters on a guided voyage of discovery. Because it is subtle, this work is instinctual, quiet and profound. You must be willing to trust so the flower essence can instruct about it's etheric patterning. This was one of my biggest challenges with the essence work.


Will do commission work

 Home  1997
Coast Central Credit Union
Coast Central Credit Union
 About  Me

Flower Essence
Watercolor Impressions

East Meets West