Saturday, January 31, 2015

Morning Agave Star

Morning Agave Star
12 x 9
Pastel on UArt Sanded Paper

Another in the "star" series of agave...that is the top down view. This is an artichoke agave.  I did the left and right sides, so it was time to do the rising star. I thought about venus as the "morning star" - or evening star depending on the time of year. I couldn't see Venus in a cactus, though I do think cacti are beautiful. So, I left it as a morning star. I have a 4th direction, the evening star forthcoming.....

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Cream Spike Star

Cream Spike Star
14 x 10
Pastel on UArt Paper
Here's another top down view of one of my smaller agave. This is the Cream Spike Agave. Last year, another view of her won an award at the Austin Pastel Society juried exhibit (Thank you to our juror Clayton J. Beck III). That painting was Venti Agave with Cream and was the post that began this blog last year - 90 blog posts ago. The name - cream spike reminded me of coffee. This one was Venti as in it's a really big painting. 

This 'star' version is part of a series which started with "Kaleidoscope" and continued with "Blue Glow Star". I think next will be the Artichoke agave. 
I'm including a side by side with "Blue Glow Star". I really liked the two together








Saturday, January 24, 2015

Blue Glow Star

Blue Glow Star
14 x 10
Pastel on UArt Paper
Yesterday, I went out in a moment of sunshine to take photos of some of my cacti. I wanted to have some new views for this weekend's painting. In particular, I wanted to take more straight down views so I could do more creations like "Kaleidoscope" (see post from Jan 5, 2015). As I made my way about the yard, I took some of Blue Glow as well as Cream Spike. These are  smaller agave - maybe 8-12 inches in diameter. Then, I saw it, the agave that inspired "Kaleidoscope". It had frozen. I was horrified. Fortunately, she had some babies underneath. The frozen cactus should protect the babes. Therefore, in honor of our fallen agave, I am dedicating the next few to her. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Crimson and Gold

Crimson and Gold
7 x 5
Pastel on UArt Paper
Here's a guy who was at our window recently. He looked particularly nice with the few remaining gold leaves on our crape myrtle. It was raining at the time the photo was taken and he was all fluffed up because of the cold. We had a few sunny days recently, and the cardinals were singing loudly. It was a short lived spring like period. Back to the rain, for which we are very grateful. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Glacial

Glacial
12 x 9
Pastel on UArt Sanded Paper
I'm almost out of photos of Agave that I feel are "paintable". I have had this one since July 2013. It's one I spied at a local nursery. It's name is Blue Ice - or Agave colorata. Last month, I thought I had painted Blue Ice, but it was actually Blue Glow. This is truly the ice man. What's really unique about this agave is the very distinct claw like protrusions for the thorns. 

I think I might have 1 or 2 more agave planned from my stash of photos, then it will be out to the local nurseries for more photos...or just driving around. The challenge is to find one that is different/unique. I'd like to get a good picture of a Agave havardiana - and there are a bunch in West Texas!

Here's a few progress shots of my process. I had hoped to make this one a bit more pink/fuschia - but I lost it somewhere along the way. Perhaps I'll have to find it again!







Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Golden Edge

The Golden Edge
12 x 9
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Rules. I don't like them. I prefer to live more by the Pirate Code stated in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: "..... the Code is more what you'd call guidelines than actual rules." While I do like is a certain level of order, it doesn't mean that it's rules. What does this have to do with a painting? It's the odd way my mind works - kind of all over the place. When trying to name this painting (oh look, there's a squirrel) I saw the golden lines that edge the leaves. Golden lines kind of reminded me of "The Golden Rule". Rule - ugh. I prefer to live a little more on the edge. My goal is to push myself to do something I don't think I can do. Sometimes it means having the support of friends because sometimes I can't do something alone - but together we can! Sometimes it's trainers who tell me - just 5 more, or just a little faster on the treadmill. I don't think I can, but then I do. It's amazing what we have within us. 

If you have a dream, live it. Seize the day!!! The time is NOW! Push yourself beyond your edges. Carpe Diem!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Stout

Stout
9 x 12
Pastel on UArt Sanded Paper
The sun is out this weekend, as it was 2 weekends ago. When it was out last, I was snapping photos of many of my cacti, including the stout little artichoke agave. It has such round and thick leaves. This one has been through some tough winters, as evidenced by the crispy patches on the lower leaves. But, she keeps on keeping on. Sometimes when naming paintings I struggle for something "just right". I wanted something along the lines of resilient and tenacious - and stout came up as a synonym. So she's not only stout in stature, she's stout in her tenacity.






Sunday, January 11, 2015

Ghost Leaves

Ghost Leaves
14 x 10
Pastel on UArt Paper
One of the aspects I love about Agaves is the ghost patterns on the leaves. These patterns have been left from the time when the leaf was wrapped tightly in the centermost part of the plant. This is my "Mr. Ripple" agave (see my post from January 10). This particular shot really showed off the ghost patterns on th leaves. I did this painting on UArt paper and underpainted with Pan Pastels. The universe validated my planned name for this painting. As I was wrapping up, the song "The Ghost in You" by the Psychedelic Furs played. 









Yes, today was about ghosts. Ghosts of leaves, ghosts of the past, and ghosts of the future. 



A man in my shoes runs a light
And all the papers lied tonight
But falling over you
Is the news of the day

Angels fall like rain
And love, love, love is all of Heaven away





Saturday, January 10, 2015

Lightwaves

Lightwaves
14 x 10
Pastel on UArt Paper

Last Sunday - was truly a Sun Day. Though cold, I ventured out of doors to snap a few photos of the cacti in the rockin' rock garden along my front yard by the street. This is "Mr. Ripple". The Yucca Do nursery site says this agave will "stop traffic". Yup. This really nifty green agave has seriously rippled leaves. I absolutely love this guy! The undulation of the leaves creates wonderful shadows. I turned the actual photo clockwise 90 degrees so it was horizontally oriented vs vertically. I really enjoyed painting this piece and could hardly wait to share it with you all!

My sound track this time was my Pandora station of "The Scorpions". So I got a little of them, Guns n' Roses, Motley Crue, etc. I had a fabulous time - until my significant told me to turn down the music! What!!? No way! He said it's time to build a studio. Oh that I could! I'm saving my pennies to build a studio that overlooks the pond in the backyard :)

Here's the live "Mr Ripple" and some progress shots...







Monday, January 5, 2015

Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope
12 x 9
Pastel on UArt Paper

What kid doesn't enjoy a Kaleidoscope? I remember holding a Kaleidoscope up to the light as a kid and seeing the light glint through the crystals as the patterns tumbled around. The pretty colors and patterns, each so beautiful and followed by yet another lovely one. Exciting and soothing at the same time. 


As I was painting this warm little cactus, the shape and pattern reminded me of that moment as a child. This cactus is similar to the "Cream Spike" Agave in size and color (see my post from last year - Venti Agave with Cream). However, this one has stouter leaves and crenelated edges. It's called - Agave potatorum ‘Kichiokan’ (or ‘Kissho Kan’). It was cold yesterday, but sunny, so I was able to take some new photos. This cactus lives by my front walk up to the house. I started the painting with a pan pastel under painting, then followed up with various soft pastels including Sennelier, Terry Ludwig, NuPastel and Mungyo Gallery. I really enjoyed putting the purples, blues and reds together with the greens and yellows. Then finally circling it all in the warm sunny orange. Hope it warms you up on a winter day!


PS - I squashed my right index finger between two large rocks over the weekend. My painting will be much slower and probably a bit funny looking for awhile. 







Thursday, January 1, 2015

Aquavemarine

Aquavemarine
18 x 12
Pastel on UArt 500 Paper

Happy New Year!!! I found a great way to celebrate the cold and rainy day of January 1st 2015 by adding a little warmth on the easel. Interestingly, looking back at 2014, I was painting cacti about this time of year then as well.

This is another agave from the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden. As I write this, I realize that I forgot to put in the little fallen Palos Verdes leaves in the nooks and crannies. But....I'm kind of liking her without the distraction. I really loved this particular agave because of the aquamarine green/blue of the centermost younger leaves. So - she became "Aquavemarine"! I did this piece on UArt 500 sanded paper with an underpainting of Pan Pastel.

PS - to my friend in Utah - I created "The Cure" Pandora station. Definitely a correlation between that and my creative process. We started with "In Between Days".