Saturday, May 31, 2014

It's Finally HERE!!! Exhibit Starts Tomorrow - Opening Event Sat Jun 7

The anticipation and work effort has been building since winter for the "Dos Hermanas - Art of Two Sisters" Show. Today, my sister Belia, some of her dear friends and I hung the show - whew! 

I have (lucky) 13 pieces that will be on exhibit - including the award winning "Venti Agave with Cream". Belia has over 30 pieces including alcohol inks, mosaics, fiber art and more! The show runs from June 1-27 and the opening event is next weekend. Here's a sneak peek - hope to see you and as many friends as you can bring at the opening!

Dos Hermanas - Art of 2 Sisters
June 2014
Alternative Space Gallery - First Unitarian Universalist
4700 Grover Avenue - Austin, TX - 78756
Opening Event
Saturday June 7, 2014  from 6-8 p.m.

Yours Truly - Right side of room

Belia's Alcohol Inks  - Left side of Room

Cabinet with Belia's Mosaic Boxes

Belia's Fiber Art, Mosaics and Alcohol Inks

Now I focus once again on new creations! YAY!!!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes, New Mexico and Aspiration

Pastel on Art Spectrum Colourfix
Color - "Elephant" Tone
12 x 9
On my recent trip to Jemez Springs and Santa Fe, New Mexico, I was of course "enchanted" by the Land of Enchantment. Both the natural beauty and man made beauty can be breathtaking. When in Santa Fe, I visited the O'Keefe Museum - not only for education and inspiration, but simply to "be" near the paintings where her hands once were. In college, I  remember being mesmerized by O'Keefe's flowers. Later, I had an opportunity to see an exhibit of her work in San Antonio at the McNey. But to see rooms and galleries full of her work (and Ansel Adams) was beyond words. Most mesmerizing was the area set up to be like her studio. I felt transported in time. She indeed was a woman before her time. She was bold and daring, which is part of the reason I admire not only the art, but the woman herself.

As we walked through Santa Fe, we had hoped to visit the NM Museum of Art, but it was closed that day. Instead, I took a few photos of the gorgeous building itself. So, on to the "Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes". 

I decided to take a departure from my usual botanicals and style and try something new. Taking inspiration from O'Keefe's "Patio Door with Green Leaf" and other adobes, I attempted to take on the NM Museum of Art in a more contemporary way than my usual paintings. I liked the angles O'Keefe presented in her paintings. So, I opened my Sonos App and selected the David Bowie channel on Pandora. Like a sign from above, I was presented with "Changes". So I rocked on and onto the paper. Here is the progression of...


Area of interest
See Yellow Square

Source Photo
Left tower of Museum

Value Drawing and Composition Adjustment

Under painting with Pan Pastel

Be sure to click on the final painting to see the detail in the beams/vigas.
Thank you for reading, watching and sharing with those you know :)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Agave Trinity

Agave Trinity
18 x 12

Many Agave Salmiana (also called "Green Giant") in my neighborhood are preparing a big feast and putting up their candelabra for the table. San Marcos Growers describes as: This architectural succulent is recognizable by its thick, graceful, dark gray-green out-curving leaves with projecting spines and massive stature, reaching to 5-6 feet tall by twice as wide. When the plant matures and blooms the tall candelabra inflorescence rises to over 20 feet bearing yellow flowers that attract birds and bees.

This specimen by the mailbox was getting ready to bloom a few weeks ago and I snapped some photos. What I liked about this composition I cropped out was the pattern of three crossed flower spikes repeating. Three equals a Trinity and in my mind, this flower is kind of like the final sacrifice and offering this plant makes. This is not just about death, but continued life as it feeds the hummingbirds, small birds and bees. As I think about it, not only does the plant live on in the pups that inevitably are produced at the base, but the life is continued by the bees pollinating. If this stalk were to be left up, small pups would form on the stalk. I only know this because one of my neighbors left one up last year and as the stalk dried and the plant continued to whither, more life sprung from the top.

Here is the photo and progression of the painting I call Aga
ve Trinity. I really got into the process and was "in the zone". So much so that I only took one progress shot. This is one that "fell of the brush".

Source Photo
Under Paint - Pastel/Alcohol

Final Painting

I hope you enjoy viewing her and hearing her story as much as I enjoyed painting her. Next I hope to portray her in full bloom. I was quite sad to find that a Green Giant in flower in the median between roads on the way to my house was suddenly gone one day. So, I had to snap a photo of this girl by the mailbox before the landscape company cuts it down :(

By the way - if you haven't already figured this out, you can double click on any of the images for a closer look!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Canon del Rio Pottery

Canon del Rio Pottery
12 x 9
Winding up a workshop weekend with Enid Wood in Jemez Springs, NM at the fabulous Canon del Rio Retreat. Our accommodations and food were beyond compare. The company and instruction were terrific and it was an honor to be in the company of so many talented artists. The event was laid back yet challenging. I know I certainly had my challenges. Sometimes, as hard as you try, a painting just won't come together. Then, when you least expected a painting will "fall off the brush" as Enid says. 

Here's the one that fell off the "brush" this morning. This is a pottery arrangement at Canon del Rio. All I had to do was draw the arrangement that was already so artfully arranged.

But, let's be real, I struggled, scratch that - I fought - with my other pieces.....I can't even bear to name these....but we take the good with the bad. I did the first one on black Canson paper on day 1. On Day 2, I repeated the piece on UArt 500 with a purple under painting. The second has a "dreamy" muted look b/c I erased and reworked it so many times before finally giving in. The lesson learned is that one cannot try and recreate an afternoon painting in the morning. Gotta wait for the right time of day. Overall, I think if I had to choose which version I like, I'd choose day 1 on the black paper.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Day's End in Marathon

Day's End in Marathon
12 x 9
There are some magical places in the Southwest - West Texas is one of them. On the way to Big Bend, a stop in Marathon at the Gage Hotel is most definitely worth oasis in the desert. This painting is an image of a memory from an evening there. A hot summer day in August, the sun going down. Getting ready for the Perseids meteor showers later in the night. The last rays of sunlight grazing the courtyard walls kissing the cow skull and chile ristra good evening....

Here's the source and progress photos.

Thanks for reading. If you like what you see...please share! Next, the Land of Enchantment.....

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Quien Es Mas Macho?

Did another version of the "Sharp Dressed Yucca". This time on an Art Spectrum olive green Sanded paper. Here's the side by side.  I changed the composition slightly with more sky on version 2 to give it more perspective and added some sunlight grasses in the left background that I did not see in my source photo the first time around.

"Quien es Mas Macho?"

Version 1
Canson Paper
20 x 16

Version 2
Olive Green Art Spectrum Paper

12 x 9

Source Photo

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sharp Dressed Men (Yucca)

Sharp Dressed Yucca
20 x 16
I have a new routine on Sunday mornings. As part of the fun things I get to do now "at my age", I get to take this pill once a week and I can't have anything else - no coffee, no other anything, oh - AND stay upright for at least 30 minutes - preferably 1 hour. So the first time I had to do this, I sat and watched the clock until I could have my coffee. Well, that was just silly. So, I made lemons out of lemonade (or Fosamax as the case may be). Instead of watching the clock, I've gone out for a walk in the early morning, snapping pics of my favorite subjects. 

Sharp Dressed Yucca

This is a yucca in bloom around the corner from my house. It was my Sunday morning walk and it was early golden light. I really liked this multi-trunked dude. As I thought about painting him, of course I thought of names. I thought about the beards on these yucca and ZZ Top came to my know...the beards. I couldn't very well name the painting "Dusty, Billy and Frank". So, I thought, yucca are sharp and ZZ Top did have that song "Sharp Dressed Man". Yes, this girl is crazy about a "Sharp Dressed Yucca'. Or, I'm just crazy period....okay, don't answer that.

This is a study/quick work on black Canson Board. The Canson Papers have two sides - one textured and one not. The ones affixed to board have textured side up - which is why it has that very grainy appearance. I think I will definitely do another one like this on regular sanded paper....and...listen to ZZ Top while I paint.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Yucca Castle....for Carmen

I have a sweet friend who's momma really liked yucca flowers and birds. This one's for her. Carmen was a sweet little lady. I am honored to have met her and am blessed to have her wonderful daughter in my circle of friends.

Yucca Castle

I stopped to admire the majestic flowers on this yucca near our mailboxes on my way home. When I got out of the car to take pictures and got closer to the stand of plants, I found I had intruded near someone's home. Mr Mockingbird had made a home in these yuccas and gosh darn it, he was on patrol - in a big way! This was his castle and he was pretty proud of it. 

I did this piece on Art Spectrum "Terra Cotta" sanded paper. I knew I wanted the deep portions w/in the yucca flowers to be dark rusty orange, and as I dug through my pile of smaller pieces of colored paper, this one was perfect. I did a bit of under painting in purple. Here's the progression of the painting. At the 3rd photo of the progress, I realized there was a little "face" in one of the yuccas. That had to go! 

I liked this subject so much, I will probably do another version perhaps on UArt Paper which is plain beige and I can do more under painting. It's a bit of a cloudy day today, so I don't think my photos are giving a true color of the painting.

Thanks for following along and allowing me to share my painting efforts with you. If you like what you see, please share!

Thursday, May 8, 2014


18 x 12
My favorite time of the day is right before and just after sunrise when the light is honey colored. The wind is usually still and the birds are just waking up and the shadows are still long. 

This photo from my trip to the Phoenix DBG was just that....long shadows and golden light. Though I can paint for a long time on my cache of photos from that one visit to the DBG, I sometimes find a new painting in a tiny piece of the photo. From this photo - I focused only on the far left - where the morning sun hit the agave and the pathway that winds invitingly to the left and out of the picture.

Initially, I considered naming the painting "Sharp Turn" playing off the agave and the curve in the path. Then as I painted, it was about the Agave and the honey colored sunlight and I considered "Catching Rays". I wrote this, I came to realize it was all about the light and maybe "Longshadow". That's the progression of the naming, here's the progression of the painting. I really liked the light/shadow on the path and the honey light touching the blue agave leaves. Hmm...makes me think of agave nectar....maybe that's another name - "Nectar Light"

Under painting

Sharp Turn  or Catching Rays
Longshadow or Nectar Light
18 x 12

I'm interested to know which name strikes you as most fitting for the painting? 

Thanks for reading and allowing me to share my paintings with you. I hope you enjoy the blog and if you do, please share!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Feast your Eyes on This!

It seems the agave are blooming everywhere I look (yeah, I gawk and rubberneck at Agave). Big tall spires that tower over the landscape. Last year, my big blue in the front yard bloomed. It was bittersweet. It was, of course, her last hurrah - and it was magnificent! During the bloom, I was amazed at the number of hummingbirds buzzing about the tower of nectar treats. I can only imagine what it is like to be so tiny and have these huge flower pods - like a big lollipop of sugar for birds. 

Here's an homage to big blue....

Agave Feast

Agave Feast
14 x 7

I took a bit of artistic license with her. Some species of agave tend to have their blooms go a bit more orange, where as many that we see here in Texas tend to stay more yellow. To better see the shadows and colors when I'm painting from a photo, I often edit the image and over saturate the color. I've learned from Liz Haywood Sullivan's books that photos often have incorrectly represented color. In my opinion and with my camera skills, the photos seem washed out to what I see in reality. Maybe, I just see things differently period. 

"Agave Feast" will be in the June Show "Dos Hermanas - Art of Two Sisters". She has been dressed up for the show with a beautiful frame and matting job done by Ursula Overdiek at Hang Ups in Cedar Park. I hope that you have a chance to come out and see her all dressed up!

I've added a new feature to my blog where you get to submit your reactions or impressions about my paintings - there are 3 options in check boxes below the post. They are:

LOVE IT: WOW, this is awesome, definitely think it will sell fast, could maybe even see it on my own walls or the walls of someone I know.

LIKE IT: I'm okay with it, but it doesn't knock my personal socks off. It might sell, but may take awhile to find that special new owner.

HIDE IT IN A DRAWER...QUICKLY: Yikes!! Holy Moly Anna Lisa - what on earth is that? Maybe it's upside down? Yeah, not your best effort....when at first you don't succeed - try try again.

The whole purpose of art is sharing the art and discussing it. While it may have personal meaning, it is made richer by interaction and reaction with others. Looking forward to your thoughts and appreciate all the input you give!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

I can see leaves and leaves

Earlier this week, I posted a study for a larger piece I was going to work up. So over the week, she's been building. Today I finished her....

Leaves upon Leaves

The inspiration for this painting is an Agave Hiemiflora at the Phoenix Desert Botanical Gardens. You've seen the original photo in an earlier post Nice Surprise. What I liked about this particular photo was not only the symmetry of the agave, but that the palos verdes leaves had fallen upon the leaves of the agave and on the ground all around. Hence - leaves upon leaves. Here is the progress - and now you will see how Agave #27 got her name. I paint by number initially, numbering the leaves on my source and sketch so I can keep up with where I am.

Painting by Number - Clockwise 1 - 27

Leaves upon Leaves
20 x 30
Mi Tientes Touch Sanded Board
I hope I colored outside the numbered lines a little bit! I've never been one for following rules anyway. I hope you enjoy her as much as I do. I'd love to hear your thoughts - please share and comment away!