Sunday, February 18, 2018

Hana Afterglow

Hana Afterglow
12 x 9
Pastel on Art Spectrum Burnt Umber
Just returning from nine days on Maui. We stayed in Hana in a lovely home on a beautiful 4 acre property. I was truly - in heaven. There are no words I can use to convey the lushness or fullness of the place. We drove in at 1am - yes, down the Hana Highway. We woke up in paradise. Paradise found for this botanical artist!

As much as I love the desert and her beautiful plants, I love the rain-forest too. I am a study in opposites in many areas of my life and my love of plants is no different. From the harsh and spiny agave to the delicate and lovely orchid. 

No progress shots on this one - I was in the moment of Hawaii in my head....not in the process or technique. According to google reverse image search, this is a Ti plant. Cordyline fruticosa - or the 'good luck' plant.

I didn't share much about my trip on social media, until we were leaving. I wanted it to be private. My art has been suffering and my artist was very depleted. She needed to water her soul. Hana did just that. 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Misty Morning

Misty Blue
20 x 16
Pastel on Tinted Pumice
Primed Black Gatorboard

Meeting "Misty Blue". She's another homage to the fog and mist covered agave of November in my mind. I'm still experimenting with the metallic elements to my paintings. This one is a moody quiet painting to give the feeling of that mist, low light and quiet that fog brings. I worked in some "Interference" and iridescent silver and pearl acrylics in the background. What is "Interference" - it's varies depending on your angle. Golden defines it as "Interference Acrylics — Interference colors "flip" between a bright opalescent and its complement, depending on the angle of the viewer. Relatively transparent, they allow artists the ability to glaze with unique effects. Add gels for impasto texture or thin with mediums. Try adding a very small amount of black to produce deeper, richer, opalescent effects."

Some's a struggle. Yesterday's painting time was a challenge, and today, again, is a challenge. I wish I could put my finger on what specifically is holding me back. Since Dec 25th and for about a month, I felt really "on". Enter this weekend and I'm "hanging on". What is it that makes a period of time flow better than other times - that creates those times when paintings just paint themselves? Is it less stress in general life circumstances - perhaps so. Yes, during my "on" period, it was the holidays, but things had been pretty quiet. Now, it's hectic. It's like everyone woke up after the holidays and there is so much to do, in both my corporate job and at home. Gearing up for the spring art show season and spring in general. 

Now that I type this, I realize, while I was painting a fog blanketed morning image, I was listening to the Foo Fighters new album. Hmmm...maybe I need to match my music to my paintings a little better next time. Also, perhaps, when I'm in a high energy/hectic period, I need brighter colors. I'm fighting with my own energy perhaps. I may have to be more observant of that in the future.

I know soon, it will be time to get back out into the yard. For that, I am truly grateful - I love being outside....and perhaps that's what I need to do more of. 
I went to the coast last weekend for bird watching. We drove in the rain and returned in the rain. In between, we had a glorious Saturday on the water! I got a new 150-600 mm telephoto lens for the camera. I expect that soon, I'll have many more terrific resource photos for bird paintings when that mood strikes me. 

Black Gatorboard Primed with Grey tinted pumice

Laying in the darks - Ludwig Eggplant
Hand rubbed to spread it out

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Azul y Oro

Azul y Oro
12 x 9
Pastel on Tinted Pumice
Primed Gatorboard
I'm breaking into the gold iridescent/metallic paint. This was actually a failed painting (see the "yuck" painting in the Verdigris post). I took it to the mop sink and washed and scrubbed it off - and got to start again.

I primed the board again with pumice tinted with the neutral grey collected pastel dust I've been collecting. I'm so happy to have a use for it besides making grey pastels. I then over painted with a mix of 4 to 1 Gold with burnt sienna. Then I lightly applied the pastel. I decided I liked the underpainting/texture to show through on this one. This one is a revisit to "Blue Agave Supernova". Overall, my black gatorboard "experiment" is successful and I will be purchasing more. I learned the gatorboard priming technique in Rita Kirkman's workshop, but I know I needed to make it my own. I think it will continue to evolve.

I still have a roll of UArt 500 I need to continue to use. I'm feeling excited about the new metallic series, but a bit tired of my resource photo cache. I'm going to see about going to the wholesale cactus farm East of my home. While they don't sell retail, perhaps they will let me take photos at least. Not sure when I'll get out to Phoenix yet. I'm waiting on two more juried festival events to finalize - then I can plan my additional travel.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Verdigris Furrows

Verdigris Furrows
32 x 31
Pastel on Tinted
Pumice Primed Gatorboard

The metallic series continues with Verdigris Furrows. I was so pleased with my last primed Gatorboard experience I had to do it again. This time, I enlarged my subject and I am so thrilled I did. I started with black Gatorboard and primed it with pastel tinted pumice. I wanted this to have a rusted look underneath so went with some bits of a dark red brown and added some Ludwig eggplant purple. It didn't turn out quite as expected on the black board, so I over painted with a mixture of burnt sienna and metallic copper high flow acrylic. For interest, I sprayed alcohol on the mix to give it a more mottled look - not that anyone can see it now. I'll have to go back to that again. 

Then I just painted the agave. I COULD NOT STOP! It was such an intense painting session. At the end, I added more straight metallic copper. DEE-LICIOUS! Progress shots below. THIS is why I paint! So ready to do this again!!!

The Primed board - adding over paint

The finished board

The grid and sketch - very pale green

Scrubbed in darks w/TL Eggplant and fingers

Starting the leaves - mostly Ludwigs

Starting to add the straight copper metallic

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Burr's Fallen

Burr's Fallen
12 x 9
Pastel on Pumice Primed Gatorboard

These are a few treasures from my Saturday morning walk. Fallen Burr Oak leaves and a Burr Oak acorn. These are big leaves and corresponding large acorns. A few years back, I took a remote/virtual Botanical illustration class with Wendy Hollender.  For our first month, January, we drew sticks. Later on, we did acorns and later on, leaves. I came to appreciate the simple dried leaves and acorns of winter. 

I literally traced the shape/size of the leaves and acorn as best I could. Then, I taped them to my easel. Drawing shadows really helps w/presenting the models - or so I learned in class. Therefore, those are created here. The class was in colored pencil, but I love the richness or pastel. This surface is a pumice tinted with the droppings of many pastel paintings over the years. It's a lovely neutral grey with a hint of purple. Almost the color of Art Spectrum's Colourfix Aubergine, but in my opinion, much more intense.

Here's a few progress shots, that include the leaf models. There was no way that huge acorn was staying attached to the board. 

The tape under the bottom leaf
came undone.

Sunday, January 7, 2018


Pastel on Pumice Primed Black Gatorboard
I've been dreaming of this painting for quite some time. Ever since I became fascinated with the metal sculptures of agave that were tipped in colors (See Pinterest for examples). Anyway, it occurred to me, what if agave were made of various metals - including copper. If they were copper, they would develop verdigris over time. So....follows the painting. This has more verdigris than copper, but that will evolve.

This is a total experiment. I will definitely have more of these. With this one, I applied a metallic copper tinted pumice to the board. Then I took my small foam roller to it - well, then it turns out I'm painting essentially on an orange peel textured wall. Yikes! But, I made it work for me. I also learned if I wanted to the metallic acrylic textures to work, I needed to apply directly undiluted. So fun. Although I'm not a "sparkle" sort of girl, I do like sparkle in my paintings.It was a bit difficult to get a good photo of this one. The metallic is more copper than gold - but you get the gist. 

Here's my source photo, but I missed progress shots. My sister came to visit, so it was fun to have her to talk with while I painted. Trouble is, being a big sister, she likes to direct. We had to have a discussion about who's painting it was. She paints in pastel too, and I credit her with taking me to my first class. She literally dragged me - somewhat kicking and screaming. Yet, here I am almost 5 years later still playing in pastel.

The first attempt - YUCK

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Snow Kured

Snow Kured
12 x 9
Pastel on Primed Gatorboard

This has been a week of unusual weather in unexpected places. Like snow on Kure Beach North Carolina. My friend lives there and snapped a photo of a snow covered agave in the morning sun. It was a glorious shot! The blues, the yellows the cools the warms. It screamed PAINT ME! So I did.

This is pastel on grey and metallic silver tinted pumice. I am pretty happy ovrall with this one. Not too many progress shots as I was in the flow and we have to honor those moments.