Monday, April 28, 2014

Nice Surprise

Sometimes, when I least expect it, something really nice lays down onto the paper. I was back to Mayan Temple incense and Native American Flute music and feeling really relaxed. This little number appeared. I call her...

Agave #27

This is inspired from a piece of one of the over 200 photos I took at the Phoenix Desert Botanical Gardens. I really liked the overall symmetry of this beauty. 

Agave #27

I'm trying black Canson paper again (also done w/"Patty Melt"). I was just doing a study using Cretacolor pastel pencils I ordered as a promo set to try their product. I'm pretty happy with how she laid down. My nephew, Alan Corkery-Hahn, who is an artist in Seattle - says sometimes the studies are better than the final piece because we're more relaxed. Yep - very an alien abduction, I was transported to another world and looked down and 2 hours had gone by.

Why is she's how I keep  up with where I am in the drawing...but evidently, I can't keep count very well. 

Enjoy and share!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Room to Run - Brushy Creek

It's been waaaaay too long since my last post. So let's get right to it! Allow me to introduce you to:

Brushy Creek on New Year's Day

I've been painting alot of botanicals, so thought I'd change it up a bit to some landscape and water. I needed one more water piece for the show in June. There is a place I run called Brushy Creek. On New Year's Day, I snapped this photo when I hit the 4 mile mark (where I turned around to go back). Getting to this place was my goal as I had been there before and painted it before (see my website under Landscapes.... - Brushy Creek at 4 mile). 

Brushy Creek on New Year's Day 2014
Someone I know was talking about running at Brushy Creek today, so I knew it was time to post - must have been a sign from my Higher Power. It's also probably a sign I need to  balance and be running more...but oh I love my HOT Vinyasa Flow Yoga in Cedar Park. So many things I like!

Here is the progression of my work on this piece - including the study. 

I'd like to hear your opinions. Feel free to comment on which version you like best of the last two. Enjoy and if you do like what you see, PLEASE, share my post with your friends.

Study on Art Spectrum ColourFix Paper
started 12 x 9 but I cropped to 9 x 9

Underpainting Pastel/Alcohol - UArt 500 Paper
18 x 12

Working Top down with Sky

Adding Oak and Cedars and some Grass

Finishing Trees start
Grasses at Waters Edge
Okay - I'd like to hear your thoughts and opinions.
Which version do you like  of the two below?
To Crop or not to Crop - that is the question
Version 1
Finished Painting
Cropped at Bottom
15 x 12

Version 2 you prefer longer and narrow?
16 x 9

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Patty Melt

I am continuing to draw upon the source material from my trip to the Phoenix Desert Botanical Gardens - which if you haven't done, I HIGHLY recommend. If you can make it while the Dale Chihuly glass exhibit is still in the garden, even better still!

While at the DBG, I took over 200 photos. One was a photo of what some in Texas would call the ubiquitous prickly pear cactus. About this time of year, they are starting to put on new growth - new mini patties and soon the flower which will later become the "prickly pear" also called "Tunas"(which reminded me of REO Speedwagon's album "You Can Tune a Piano but you can't Tuna Fish" - yes, I'm a bit ADHD - and speaking of dogs, there is a cat!)

I really liked how the light hit the cactus that day. Some illuminated and others not, some intense colors if one looked closely and noticed the lower patties close to the ground tend to get pretty weathered and woody. 

Recently, Led Zeppelin as been coming up a lot when driving in the car. I decided to set my Sonos to the Pandora "Led Zeppelin" station. As I painted, I time traveled through Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, CCR, and my very first album -The Animals (which included House of the Rising Sun - "...mamma, tell your children, not to do what I have done...."). Soon, the cactus patties got to be pretty psychedelic. At first, I was considering the name "Roasted Pears" because I imagined the heat and the sun roasting the pears. But then, I realized, my source didn't have a whole lot of pears, but there were patties galore. So, she became....

Patty Melt 
Patty Melt 25 x 19
The more I painted the colors started coming out.....greens, purples, blues, turquoise, goldenrod. My source photo showed flowers on the cacti in the background, but not the foreground. I decided to change that to give the cactus patch a bit more "unity".

It was nice to paint on black paper for a change (oh - and yes, the song "Paint it Black" was on the playlist). Most recently, I've been painting on UArt 500 Sanded Paper. Part of my winnings for the APS Juried exhibition included a pad of black Canson paper. I started a study there, and then went out and got a bigger piece. It's been a nice change! Some artists have a "blue phase", Rick calls this my "cactus phase".

I hope you enjoy "Patty Melt". Please, SHARE my post with your friends!


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Aloe Mandala

Continuing in the theme of botanicals is exactly where I want to be as these spring days are "springing". I'm excited about the new leaves, and the flowers starting to bloom. A couple of agave in my neighborhood are sending up stalks, the yuccas are blooming too. Hopefully, now that it rained a bit, the Ocotillo will get some leaves and flowers.

In the meantime, I'm still painting succulents. I continue to be fascinated by their dangerous beauty and tenacity. In some cases, they have healing properties - like the aloe. 

Today, I'd like to introduce you to:

Aloe Mandala

First Pass - Aloe Mandala
What fascinated me about this lovely one is the swirl pattern in the growth. The spiral just naturally draws one's eye to the center. As many of you know, I'm intrigued by spirals - spirals in labyrinth, spirals in petroglyphs, spiral galaxies...etc. So, this piece became the Aloe Mandala. 

First Pass  - The first pass was cooler colors, but it reminded me too much of "Miami Vice" colors and was way too "80's". 

So, I warmed her up a bit and settled on that version. I liked the delicious melon like background alot more. I also like that she's a spiral (circle) in a square configuration. A bit opposite a true mandala - but echoes the sentiment. She's presently at the framer getting all prettied up for the June show at 

Alternative Space Gallery – First Unitarian Universalist
4700 Grover Avenue – Austin, TX – 78756
Opening Event – Saturday June 7, 2014 from 6-8 pm

ENJOY! And please share this post with your friends!

Final - Aloe Mandala
ˈman də lə
 1.   A Hindu or Buddhist graphic symbol of the universe: specifically: a circle enclosing a square with a deity on each side that is used chiefly as an aid to meditation.

In tantric Hinduism and Buddhism (see Vajrayana), a diagram representing the universe, used in sacred rites and as an instrument of meditation. The mandala serves as a collection point for universal forces. By mentally “entering” the mandala and moving toward its center, one is guided through the cosmic processes of disintegration and reintegration. 

Mandalas may be painted on paper or cloth, drawn on the ground, or fashioned of bronze or stone. Two types of mandalas represent different aspects of the universe: the garbhadhatu (“womb world”), in which the movement is from one to the many, and the vajradhatu (“diamond world”), from the many into one. (source: