The Proteaceae family to which Protea belong is an ancient one dating back to Gondwana land 80 million years ago. Sub families of the Protea are found in Australia and South America and other small segments of Gondwana in Africa and East Asia.
I painted the Protea a couple of years ago now (above left), as I wanted to paint a few styles of Australian flowers for a change - though I didn't realise at the time that the Protea is not really a native Australian flower, but can be commonly found here. I found the large red / orange colourful flower very satisfying to paint. The original sold fairly quickly, proving that it is a very popular flower. I've also sold quite a few magnets and other gift items with this painting, so it is quite a popular motif.
Margaret Preston's woodcut print Proteas are very famous (above right) and her style is always influential when trying to paint Australian themed native plants.