Saturday, January 19, 2019

Big Bend Beauty

Big Bend Beauty
9 x 12
Pastel on Art Spectrum Colourfix in Olive

A clear, cold and windy day. A full day including early yoga, a pastel group meeting, painting, and a lovely dinner at home. Earlier this week, it felt like spring, and now it feels like old man winter is back. I'm back to the easel painting cactus flowers and longing for spring. I say I long for spring, but I also do enjoy the winter and the heat of summer since they are slower seasons when I can focus on my painting. Spring is of course yard time and art show time. Fall is holidays and the beginning of the fiscal year at my corporate job.

Anyway, this blog is about art, but there are so many other things in my life besides art. Meditation and yoga bring me peace. Art however, takes me to a place of sheer bliss and serenity. I don't think when I paint, I just do. It's kind of yoda-ish if that's a word - "There is no try, only do". Which reminds me of another quote - "The only difference between a master and a beginner is that the master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried". I'm no master, but I keep trying. A friend recently shared their frustration with meditation. Meditation, yoga and painting are a practice....practice doesn't make it perfect, but it does yield progress.

Progress shot....and one of our cats - Severus.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Midnight Queen

Midnight Queen
12 x 12
Pastel on Hand Pumiced Gatorboard

I'm continuing in the theme of the night blooming cactus. Their proper name iof the genus is Epiphyllum. This one belongs to my neighbor Sam. I envy this one. Mine are white. He gave me a cutting from his plant, but alas, the deer munched it. I will have to start again and keep it on the screened in porch.

As I painted, I listened to the soundtrack from Bohemian Rhapsody. This is how the painting ended up with the name Night QUEEN. I grew up on Queen. In fact, one of my first records was a 45 of Killer Queen. I think the first album I ever had I got from my brother - The Animals. My favorite song of theirs was "The House of the Rising Sun" - which would be apropos for this series of night bloomers. I'm on a new roll!!

Once again, only one progress shot. I got into the zone again. I did some composing on this one. I adjusted the angle of the flower - you can see how the photo is tilted. I also added some additional leaves to 'frame' it.



Saturday, January 12, 2019

Desert Dawn

Desert Dawn
12 x 12
Pastel on Hand Pumiced Gatorboard
Good to get back to the easel this weekend. I was up in cold Indiana this week. While it's good to see my workmates in Indy, it's also good to be home. 

Continuing in the theme of cactus florals, this is a lovely night bloomer. Such a treat to wake up to the incredible fragrance of these. This one is on an upright cactus vs the floppier type. I'm not quite as knowledgeable on the specific species on these. Something to work on I suppose. 

This piece is done on a hand pumiced Gatorboard. I tint the pumice with the collected pastel dust from my easel. It's the perfect neutral gray. I created a more even texture on this one by blotting/patting my sponge over the surface after I applied the pumice. Only one progress shot right after I drew out the image.




Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Fireworks on a Barrel

Fireworks on a Barrel
9 x 12
Pastel on Art Spectrum Olive Green

Happy New Year! Another trip around the sun and on goes the circle and patterns of life. Nature's beautiful patterns are one of the reasons I'm drawn to nature (HA! no pun intended!) 

I've been wanting to do this Barrel Cactus for quite some time, just never felt quite up to it. It's a bit of a complicated image. But, it's time to tackle those things I fear. That may be my motto for the year. It reminds me of a quote attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt - "You must do the things you think you cannot do". Yes, that will be this year's goal.

Here's some progress shots on these fireworks....





Sunday, December 30, 2018

Santa Rita High Noon

Santa Rita High Noon
9 x 12
Pastel on Art Spectrum Colourfix in Deep Ultra

Continuing in the theme of cactus florals and really enjoying it. What I'm not enjoying is the cold/cedar fever that I have been plagued with for eight days. I finally gave in when I was encouraged to take some Mucinex to avoid a sinus infection. Now, I'm having an out of body experience. Oh well, the hyperactivity can be put to good use in my studio. 

This is a Santa Rita Opuntia bloom. The 'patties' in this species turn an almost lavender color in cooler temperatures. Then in the spring they reward us with incredible yellow blooms with deep red/pink centers. On a trip to Big Bend National Park some years ago, we were there in late April/early May and still got to see a few blooming. These particular ones however were at the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden in early April one year. 

The placement of the buds reminds me of hands on a clock. The majestic open bloom is at high noon...so there's the name. Here's a few progress shots.





Saturday, December 29, 2018

Cactus Blushing

Cactus Blushing
12 x 12
Pastel on UArt 500


Another entry into the floral category. Also, another entry into the recycled paper category from my cleaning binge. This paper was a formerly a succulent that started to look like peppermint candy, so I stopped. UArt is of course extremely resilient and I washed and scrubbed, then put it under heavy things to dry. It was still a bit curved, but oh well. That's what clamps and hinge tape are for. Here's a few progress shots.





Friday, December 28, 2018

Butter Mellow

Butter Mellow
9 x 12
Richeson Board

I needed a break from Agave and am moving into cactus flowers and other flowers for awhile. I went through my cache of photos and printed out a bunch to work with. This one was first up.

As part of my aforementioned cleaning binge, I went through my "shiitake" paintings (the Sh## paintings that need to go in a dark drawer to grow like mushrooms). Some went in the trash, some got washed off - like this one. It had been some yucca flowers. The Richeson board is quite resilient. Though it was stained, it was usable. 

I drew out the painting, then blocked in some color and washed it down with Gamsol. Dried it off w/the hair dryer...then worked on it. Progress shots below. No, I didn't add the ladybug....but I thought about it.

The name - came from something that came to my mind as I was looking for the right mellow yellow. The Harry Potter series has been on USA for a week now. In Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone, Ron Weasley recites a spell given to him by his older twin brothers "Sunshine Daisies, Butter Mellow, turn this stupid fat rat yellow".