Saturday, December 27, 2014

One Day Past Solstice

One Day Past Solstice
12 x 9
Pastel on UArt Paper 


The seasonal cold and drizzle returned today. I did more studio cleaning, cutting UArt paper and glassine paper, storing recent paintings. I miss the sun and blue sky we had in the recent few days. I was torn about what to paint today. Then, I remembered our sunset from earlier this week. So, I pulled it out to paint. It was the first sunset after the solstice, turning the corner to longer days.






Friday, December 26, 2014

Yin Yang

Yin Yang
12 x 9
Art Spectrum Sanded Paper in Elephant Grey

Time to balance out after the holiday festivities - particularly all the wonderful, but high calorie and high sugar foods. Also, the time with family, to be balanced with some introversion/introspection time. I find a lot of introspection at my easel. My monkey mind is engaged with the painting, allowing my subconscious to take control. I started this painting Wednesday (Christmas Eve) and finished it today. Perhaps unconsciously, I was already in search of balance - yin yang when I chose this subject I liked the way the source photo was half in/half out of the light. As with yin yang - the shadow cannot exist without the light. Capturing light - that is the essence of painting. 


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Dragon

Dragon
18 x 24
Pastel on UArt Paper
This is a painting I started much earlier this year. I set it aside because I got frustrated with the subject. It is a fairly large piece and I didn't want to just give up, so I set it aside. I picked it up again as I was cleaning my studio and thought "I'll give it a shot". I'm glad I did!

This is another plant from the Phoenix Botanical Gardens. It's in the bromeliad family and is called "Deuterochonia crysantha". It is very colorful across the spectrum of red, orange, yellow, and green. I took some artistic liberties since technically, it doesn't grow on stems. The photo had another plant alongside from the genus Senicio. 

It's my own artistic alchemy of plant and image. The two together looked like a fiery asian dragon puppet on sticks during the Chinese New Year, and the artistic alchemical fire created this dragon. I suppose it's kind of timely that I came back to this dragon as the new calendar year is upon us.

But first it's Christmas....and time to enjoy family! I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!



Monday, December 22, 2014

Suncatcher

Suncatcher
12 x 9
Pastel on Art Spectrum Paper in Deep Ultra
This is an agave in the entry courtyard at the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden (heaven on earth in my opinion). I arrived early in the morning - 6:30 or 7 am and the sun was just coming up. This lovely agave was catching the light just so and the shadow vs light was very distinct. The green in the agave just glowed. The salmon pink edges were like waves of fire on the leaves. 

I really enjoyed doing this piece, it "fell of the brush" or the stick as the case may be. It laid down easily and with a minimum of adjusting. I sketched it in w/a lime green pastel pencil and underpainted with pan pastels. I finished it out with a mix of Terry Ludwig, Sennelier, and Nu Pastel. I wasn't as diligent with my timer on progress shots this go round. 









Saturday, December 20, 2014

Warm Blue Glow

Warm Blue Glow
12 x 9
Pastel on Art Spectrum Australian Gray
 This is a little agave I fell in love with last year. I was perusing agave on line and found this one - Blue Glow. Needless to say, the first time I saw one at a nursery, I bought it. It sits in the rock garden in my front yard. It's still a baby. I hope we have many many years to grow together. What I like about this cactus is the blue green leaves tipped with this red/yellow margin that lights up in the sunlight. I needed some sunlight today - so I painted some. I can just feel the sun high in the sky based on the shadows and heat in the image. 

I set a timer through my painting process. A photo every 20 minutes. This round it was 2:13










Friday, December 19, 2014

Plenty Prickly

Plenty Prickly
12 x 9
Pastel on Art Spectrum Raw Sienna 
It's official! I'm out of my art funk. The paint and ideas are flowing again. Truly, it was the cacti that broke the cycle. 

Here's a little something to warm up your day.  This year was a banner year for prickly pears. Truly, I've never seen so many pears on the cactus in our yard. They are such an intense purple when they are ripe. But you have to get pictures and appreciate them quickly before the deer enjoy them as an end of summer treat. I really liked the wavy flow of cactus patties and pears in this image. Here's a few progress shots. I really need to set a timer so I take photos more often during the process.




Monday, December 15, 2014

Agave and Wren

"Agave and Wren"
12 x 9
Pastel on Art Spectrum - Blue Haze
Still working through the blahs. I don't like winter. I live in Texas. I was made for heat. I prefer to soak up the sun on a rock like a lizard. Someone told me I once ate a lizard as a child. Didn't make me turn into one. Anyway...I digress.

So, I've also heard that when we're stuck in a rut, we should get back to basics. For me I went back to the beginning. My start painting in pastels was primarily with botanicals - especially cacti. I decided to dig through my stash of Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden photos. I had wanted to paint this cactus wren perched on agave for quite some time. This photo brings to mind the sound of cactus wren which in turn reminds me of the smell of the of the desert - the creosote and mesquite. It immediately causes me to breathe out and relax whenever I think of it. 

The photo itself was not so good, I was using my tablet to take photos as it was an impromptu trip and my phone battery was really low. I liked the way the sun backlit this cactus wren. I played up the colors in the agave to really emphasize the drying up bits against the living blue green. Here's a couple of progress shots and my resource photo.









Sunday, December 14, 2014

Flowers of the Sun

"Flowers of the Sun"
7 x 5
Pastel on UArt Paper
It's been cloudy most days. Still working through the blahs...so why not a little artificial sun? In trying to get out of a painting rut, I've heard that trying new things, or getting back to basics is a good thing.

I was inspired by some posts by Jen Evenhus on the Pastel Society of America Facebook site. She's been doing some 20 minute paintings. It seemed like a good idea to loosen up and let go. So, I chose something simple - the sunflowers from the grocery store. This is my attempt at a 20 minute painting. I do admit I did a couple of tweaks afterwards, maybe 3-5 minutes worth. It was a fun exercise!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Hide and Peep


Hide and Peep
11 x 8.5
Pastel on Archival Card Stock
Another mostly gray day. I think I have seasonal affective disorder....and it's only been a few days. I would never survive the Pacific NW. Tomorrow is supposed to be pretty. Feeling rather uninspired today. So, because I'm not "in the zone" (of painting that is) I got out the less expensive paper and decided to doodle. Well, I doodled in my sketch book first, then on the paper - it's rust colored and 100% smooth - no sand/texture.

This is "Madonna and Chicks" from Oct 29th, back for a return engagement. Appears to be a game of "Hide and Go Seek" - but the way the way these little chicks play, it's more like "Hide and Peek" or maybe "Hide and Peep". Either way, it looks like fun.

Oh my! I do believe I see some blue sky now!! Hurray!!!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

On the Loose

On the Loose
20 x 16
Pastel on Watercolor paper
with Watercolor underpaint
On the Loose.....not the cow, but me. Just playing around this morning w/a different paper (watercolor), different underpaint, and a loose style. Hence "On the LOOSE". I considered the name "Crazy Cow"...but I didn't want to imply mad cow. I'm just messing around creating ideas around a commission request of a cow(s). Here is another test subject.