Sunday, June 17, 2018

Big Daddy

Big Daddy
30 x 22
Charcoal and Pastel Stonehenge Paper
Primed with Pumice Gel

Sometimes, I need to do something different. This Big Daddy Agave is part of the view out of my studio window. It's swaying in the wind today as we pray for rain. I just needed to loosen up and draw with no agenda, no colors and be free. 

I grabbed a piece of Stonehenge paper I got for doodles. I also have some in black that I played with a while back with some Art Spectrum textures - see Alma Azul. I turned my easel towards the window and drew. I'm not a big plein air painter since I tend to do close up views of plants, and I can't get as close as I'd like. But today, I just needed to do something different. Yeah, I need more practice at just eyeing stuff. I think this is a bit out of proportion, the flowers being too big and close together vs what the real specimen looks like. 

I did a bunch of other paintings over the last 2 days. I may share some and others I'm not sure about. But what I've learned over the years is that I cannot judge my own work. 

Last, Happy Father's Day to all the Dad's out there. Mine is up in heaven, or sometimes I feel him by my side as I walk through the garden. Mostly, he liked to mow. So, while I'm enjoying one agave still blooming, one was pulled up today by my significant other. So is the circle of life.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Hill Country Viridian

Hill Country Viridian
9 x 12
Pastel on Pastel Premier Board
It's time to work up some smaller agave for my Rockport show in early July. While I've been enjoying exploring white the last few paintings, it's time to do a few paintings of my first love - agave. Agave are also one of my strongest selling genre along with other cacti. My passion for agave, cacti and succulents comes through loud and clear in my paintings of them. I swear, I catch myself ogling the darn things when I'm driving around. I have to be cautious not to have an accident. Yes, officer, I was looking at that agave and WHAM!

This guy is a little one from one of my favorite nurseries, Hill Country Water Gardens and Nursery. I loved the shape of it though I took some liberties with the color of the specimen. I was just being lazy and used some colors I had already pulled out from some prior paintings. The board was a used Pastel Premier board that I washed down to remove the old image. I then covered the ghost image with a grey gouache

I struggled a bit with what to do w/the background and started with a kind of orange yellow like the wood in the background of the photo. I thought "yuck" and erased it and then realized I liked the way it looked when I revealed the grey underneath through the warm yellow orange. As Bob Ross says "happy accident". Here's a progress shot and the painting as it will look framed.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Olive Flower Twilight

Olive Flower Twilight
9 x 12
Pastel on Art Spectrum Olive Green

This was the first of the series of 3 explorations of white flowers in this size. The second and third were Datura Dawning and Gossamer Among Thorns (my prior 2 posts). 

This painting is of olive flowers illuminated by the waning sun at twilight. I have to thank my Facebook friend Shelley Smith Morales for her permission to paint this image. The light in her photo was spectacular. Not sure I did it justice, but it was a good exploration none the less. I may revisit it again sometime, or perhaps some of her other olive flower images. These are wild olives in South Texas from what I understand.

I did manage a few progress shots of this one. Also pictured is what she would look like framed.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Datura Dawning

Datura Dawning
9 x 12
Pastel on Art Spectrum Deep Ultra

One of my artist friends contacted me today and asked me who my favorite Botanical artists were. My immediate and overwhelming response was Georgia O'Keefe....then she said living. There are living botanical artists I admire as well - Dyana Hesson, Lauren Knode, Jude Tolar and Wendy Hollender. Some of my favorite O'Keefe Paintings include her images of Jimson Weed - one of which is the most expensive painting by a woman (sold at 44M). 

Jimson Weed is another name for Datura . Datura are all are poisonous and were often referred to as "Witches Weed" or "Devil's Trumpet". Some say small amounts will induce sleep - yeah right. The plant contains scopolamine - which is sometimes used in a motion sickness medication (Scopolimine patch/sea stickers).  There is a similar plant called Angel's Trumpet (Brugmansia). These are are pendulous in their blooming nature. I have one of those, but it's fussy for me and doesn't bloom as much. I think it needs morning sun, then shade. Datura flowers point up. But, once again, I digress. 

So, yes, when I was growing up, I was fascinated with O'Keefe. Never in my life did I ever think I would end up gravitating to botanical drawing/painting myself. I always imagined that being a botanical artist in middle age would be far too cliche. But, here I am. I am painting what I love and loving what I paint - plants. It only makes sense. I love gardening, and since I've maxed out the gardens on my property, it's no surprise it ended up on paper. So, now I plant paper gardens that don't require water, pruning or really much maintenance at all. Always pretty, never frozen, or dead. Though...maybe I'll paint some dried seed pods some day.

So, this is my version of a Jimson Weed in the morning. They are blooming all over the neighborhood these days. Only one progress shot...and the framed view. 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Gossamer Among Thorns

Gossamer Among Thorns
12 x 9
Pastel on Art Spectrum Umber

When I haven't painted in some time, I am always concerned that I will still remember how. Drawing/painting is like a muscle that must be kept fit. But, like muscle memory, our hands remember what to do. It takes some warming up, just like exercise, before we hit our stride. Indeed, it's been 22 days since I last painted, and this is the third of the series. 

The series is white flowers. I'm taking a page out of mentor and artist friend Enid Wood's book. Literally, she wrote an article in the last Pastel Journal about the exploration of various colors. My color theme is white. My last painting was of white Magnolias. Today is a prickly poppy. White is never just white and it's intriguing to observe and explore. Translucent white is always tricky, and tends to reflect whats behind or underneath. Only one progress shot of G- mostly done - and a photo of what she will look like framed.

I also felt that I needed the spiritual nature of white today.  A friend who push started me on my current creative journey (started in 2011), is leaving this earth soon. She is/was an inspiration in kindness, compassion, and strength. I will miss you greatly dear Chris B. Thank you for your experience, strength, hope and most of all heart. The gossamer petals of this flower are like the fragile nature of our lives. Only the strong are able, like the prickly poppy, to bloom so beautifully among the thorns. Chris, you bloomed so beautifully, and will be missed.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Magnolia sobre Oro

Magnolia sobre Oro
32 x 32
Pastel on Pumice Primed Gatorboard

Today was another exploration in pushing texture. In this instance I'm combining texture and metallic paint. I'm enjoying more muted palettes as well. This painting is inspired by the magnolia tree blooming next door. I was allowed to cut a couple of blooms and I brought them in the house to photograph. 

It poured down rain this morning, so it was a good day to paint. The magnolia kept "telling me" to paint them with some gold metallic in addition to deep greens and purples. I started by priming the board with pumice tinted Golden Sap Green. I applied with a small foam roller and dried it. Following this, I drew out my subject, then came back in on the background and applied more pumice and applied a little press and seal with some wrinkles. The press and seal was what was covering my tray with wet tinted pumice, so it was convenient. I did this with another painting I'll share later. 

Then, I began the painting of the magnolias. In the end, I applied more metallic gold acrylic, some iridescent Sennelier gold pastel and some light blue as well.  Overall, I think it has a rather lose and dreamy effect - which is what I was hoping to achieve. Unfortunately, no progress shots....I was too in the moment.

Looking forward to the next exploratory painting.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Azul Arenoso

Azul Arenoso
16 x 20
Pastel on Pumiced Gatorboard

Well well well, look what the cat dragged!! Yep, it's been a long 6 weeks of art shows, corporate work and just plain lots of everything, except painting. It's been a great spring show season, and I have a couple of weekends off until my next show in Kerrville Texas on Memorial Day weekend. 

It was good to get back in the studio and paint. I do have to say it was good to be away because in coming back, I'm inspired with new and different ways of working. The ideas have been marinating for the last six weeks. I don't know where this is going to go and I'm really just trying to go with the flow of what's in my head. So, this is the first exploration into this new looser and more textured approach. I'm also moving towards some alternative work in more muted colors.

I didn't get any progress shots of this one. At first, I was ready to give up, but I keep pushing and slowly, ever so slowly she emerged. Part of this slowness I expect is my hiatus and my hands had forgotten how to paint. Seriously, I haven't even been sketching much. 

This is "Sandy Blue" or as she is named "Azul Arenoso". What I dig about this one is the rough textured background on the left, and the finer textures on the right. I have some additional ideas as this continues to evolve, but this one is the first pass in a smaller size. Just getting warmed up!