Saturday, April 18, 2015

Pedernales

Pedernales
10 x 12
Pastel on Stonehenge Drawing Paper
I've been on vacation this week, or as some may say, "staycation". It was time to see some of the nearby sights in Texas. We went to Enchanted Rock and then drove around near Fredericksburg and over to Alamo Springs to eat at the legendary Alamo Springs Cafe. YUM!

Now, this isn't a painting of Enchanted Rock, but rather Pedernales Falls...many years ago when there was a whole lot more water. I remember sitting in the Pedernales River on those old "tri fold" lawn chairs...water rushing past. With the rains we're having, and surely praying for A LOT more rain, perhaps the falls will once again be amazing.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Phantom Leaves

Phantom Leaves
12 x 9
Pastel on Art Spectrum White

This painting is a revisit of Ghost Leaves which is a 14 x 10 piece.  Though similar to Ghost Leaves, Phantom Leaves is of course slightly different, even in size. This painting has colors more on the cool side. When painting a subject we've done before it's like visiting an old friend. You know the way to their house, remember the turns, and the way the road winds around. You even know what pot holes to watch out for....but you still manage to hit a few.  But like each visit to your friend's house, it's a different time and a different conversation. That is how it is to revisit a painting. It's the same - but different. I really enjoy painting agave and because I do them often, when I move the pastel around the paper, it's as if I'm caressing the leaf with my hand. I feel how the leaf is shaped. I know the bend in the middle, the hollow on the other side. The thickness of the base and the curve of the thorns. The agave are my friends in so many ways. I hope we stay friends a long time.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Royal Doublet


Royal Doublet
12 x 9
Pastel on Mi Tientes Board

This is a tropical waterlily that I had in my second pond. What I really liked about this one was the variegated pads. The striations were a sort of maroon purple color. This made the lily interesting even when not blooming. The pads were enormous as well. When the lily bloomed, they were a spiky purple petal with a center with alot of stamens that almost curved to the shape of the lily.

I think a little orange goldfish would be nice with these purple lilies. For now, they are just a royal purple pair.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Poised

Poised
12 x 9
Pastel on Mi Tientes Sanded Board

Continuing in the water garden and pond life theme is "Poised". Represented are a lovely pale yellow almost white water lily nestled in by a pickerel rush leaf. Poised on the edge of the pickerel rush leaf is a dragonfly. It's usually late spring or early summer when the dragonflies show up. By fall, they are positively swarming. This guy has a more gold/brown and black body. His wings are fairly unremarkable except for a very narrow black band at the top edge. I have also had visiting dragonflies with bodies of the blue and green variety. My most favorite though are the black ones with wings that are very markedly white with black spots. Perhaps I'll get some photos of him this year.

In this painting, I tried to avoid detail on the water lily pads. The painting is about the Dragonfly and the lily. I suppose that could have been another name - Lily and Dragonfly - kind of like "Dog and Butterfly" or "Beauty and the Beast"...but the dragonfly is not a beast. Certainly not like Smaug the great and stupendous. I don't think this guy will be breathing fire any day soon.

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Monday, April 6, 2015

Pink a Boo

Pink a Boo
12 x 9
Pastel on Sanded Mi Tientes Board
Spring has sprung.  The trees have their leaves and the oaks are about finished dropping their fluffy flowers. Landscape plants have all kinds of new growth and some are starting to bloom - Coral Honeysuckle, Salvia Greggii, and my lavender. The Mountain Laurel is still going, though I notice the flowers beginning to fade. I've mulched, and mulched, and mulched - 8 cubic yards. Next truck is coming soon. I love a garden workout because the results are so enjoyable. Now that the majority of the ground work is done, it's time to get ready to enjoy the pond growth. I've cleaned out the dead plants and cleaned the bio falls. The pond generally goes through an murky phase, but now she's clearing up nicely and I can see that I have WAY too many fish. 

As my water gardening phase begins, I am also beginning a new series of pastel botanicals of the water sort. It will include water lilies such as this one - Albert Greenberg. It's a lovely pink with variegated pads. This lily is semi tropical (I think) and it takes a bit longer to get going than the hardy lilies. For this next series of paintings, I'm considering lilies, lotus, pickerel rush, dragonflies, frogs and of course koi. I have lots of photo material and hope to gather more this summer. Here's a couple of progress shots of "Pink a Boo" on it's journey. The Mi Tientes board is Tobacco brown. I underpainted with Pan Pastels. What you can't see is the wonderful iridescent blues and greys in the water areas. I only got a couple of photos because once I got "in the zone" I forgot to take more. I must remember to set a timer. 

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Friday, April 3, 2015

Floral Demitasse

Floral Demitasse
12 x 9
Pastel on Wallis Sanded Belgian Mist
This painting is a departure for me. The image is more about pattern and shape than detail. It's the 3rd time I've visited these claret cup cactus flowers. When I've painted this subject previously the perspective was at the level of the flower instead of looking down. This time, since I've been doing cactus flowers straight in the last few paintings, I thought I'd do the same with these. With these little claret cups, the circular flowers is repeated by the circular cactus tops. Furthermore, the petals of the flower seem to have a ripply or wavy flow, which is also echoed in the undulations of the cactus. 

The Claret Cups in my neighborhood are getting ready to bloom again. Little cups that scream out to me from the side of the road - "look at me". Little cups with a big impact - like a demitasse of espresso.

Thank you for visiting and reading. Shares are always welcomed!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Purplicious

Purplicious
12 x 9
Pastel on Wallis Sanded Belgian Mist
A few days ago, I posted on my Facebook page about how excited I was that my Mountain Laurel bloomed. We had a late freeze and where the shrub/trees faced north, the flower cluster buds froze. There were however some protected sides, and they are blooming away.

Mountain Laurel flowers smell like Grape Bubble Gum. When the flowers are finished blooming, a seed pod forms. My nephew pointed out to me that when we were little, we called it the "Cat Poop Bush" - because the seed pods look like cat poop. Inside, the seeds are red - and tough as nails. If you want to plant a seed to grow Mountain Laurel, you have to catch them "young" before they are too hard and nick the coating before planting. 

Anyway- I enjoyed creating an image of the Mountain Laurel blossom. The plant has very rich dark green leaves that just create a sense of coolness. I wanted this painting to convey that sense. I hope you enjoy "Purplicious"  - my play on "Bubblicious" bubble gum.

Thanks for visiting and reading. Shares are welcomed!