Saturday, December 31, 2016

Aloe Coaster

Aloe Coaster
18 x 14
Pastel on Art Spectrum Ultramarine

Back to my favorite comfortable painting place, botanicals. I'm surprised I haven't played in these color combinations more often! Purple and Green! This is an Aloe at the Desert Botanical Garden. I liked the undulation of the leaves and the varied colors inside the leaves. When I paint leaves like this, it's as if I feel the contours as I paint them.

No progress shots this time, just painted for the thrill of it. I can say I struggled with the way this paper felt with the Ludwigs. I think there is not as much tooth as I would like w/this Art Spectrum. The funny thing is I cut this piece from a larger sheet of paper. The smaller 9 x 12's seem to have more tooth. Probably my imagination, but I will have to investigate. 

Original Image

Cedar Sunset Storm

Cedar Sunset Storm
12 x 18
Pastel on UArt 500

This is an older memory. Checking the photo it's from 2014, but that doesn't seem right. Maybe I edited the original photo in 2014. Anyway, this photo is the view from my childhood best friend's home looking towards Cedar City, Utah. It was sunset and this big storm blew in. The storm came in quickly and was gone in a flash. But while it was there, the skies blackened and the lights coming on in Cedar City were glowing in the dark of the storm. The original photo is much wider and thinner. I may redo this one again.

The photos of these storm paintings just don't do them justice. I may have to retake this one when it's sunny outside. It's an overcast day today, and perhaps that is why I have storms on my mind. Closing out the year, painting up a storm. This represents the 100th post this year! 
Reference Storm


NuPastel Underpainting

NuPastel Underpainting with Alcohol Spray scrubbed/blended down




Friday, December 30, 2016

Marfa Flash

Marfa Flash
12 x 18
Pastel on UArt 500

I've had this landscape in on my mind for sometime. We were in West Texas earlier this year and spent a couple of days in the Marfa/Fort Davis area. One evening, we went out to the viewing area for a potential glimpse of the famous Marfa lights. On our way, a storm built up on the plain behind us. So instead of seeing Marfa Lights, we saw Marfa flashes of lightning and a flash flood.

I don't normally paint landscapes, though it's what I started with on my pastel journey 3.5 years ago. Since that time, I've found botanicals and those tend to be my go to strong point. But occasionally, I need to appreciate the land around us. 

Here's a few progress shots.
NuPastel underpainting sprayed with alcohol


Underpainting with alcohol 'scrubbed' and blended with a brush

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Singular Desert Gold

Singular Desert Gold
12 x 9
Pastel on UArt 500

A little golden moment on this shining Christmas Day! A little honor to the creator in the moments before I devote myself to cooking and preparing for time with the blessed family I have. Here's a 1.5 hour painting on UArt under painted with Pan Pastel.

Never for a moment do I forget that the Divine Architect is the best artist of all. To my maker who has bestowed upon me the gift of creativity, thank You....for the beauty you have given us that is life.





Saturday, December 24, 2016

Opuntia Overfloweth

Opuntia Overfloweth
25.5 x 19.5
Pastel on Sennelier LaCarte in Sand

This is by far the most complicated painting I have done to date. Yeah, I won't be doing that again for awhile. Whew! This is a prickly pear cactus in the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. When I went there in April of this year, the cactus were simply overflowing with flowers. This particular one appeared as if it was on fire with the plethora of red orange blooms.

I took some artistic license with this one and changed the paddles from green hue to more turquoise. I liked that better with the orange/red of the flowers. I don't usually paint 'high key' paintings, but this one required a lighter background in my opinion to set off the orange red of the flowers. The individual buds and each of the glochids (tiny furry thorns) and big thorns were so much detail. I really got tired of it. I may have to go back to this one at some point to touch it up - or maybe I'll leave it alone.

I started this painting 2 days ago. I've come down with a cold and moving alot slower than I usually would. It's fitting that I'm finishing it up on Christmas Eve. My cup runneth over this year with love and happiness. My art work and business has been doing better than I could have predicted and I've met and exceeded the goals I set. I am blessed beyond measure and thank my Higher Power for the gifts I've been given - particularly the gift of creative talent. I am fortunate to have the ability to enjoy and share those gifts at this point in my life. I look forward to working harder than ever to develop my talents.

Joy to the World!!!!

Drawing

Pan Pastel Underpainting




Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Pensive Red

Pensive Red
9 x 12
Pastel on Art Spectrum Colourfix Aubergine

Here's a little cutie and something a little different. I was inspired by some lovely finch photos on a Facebook group I follow. It made me remember that I have some lovely finches I took photos of in the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. I loved how this little guy just looks so pensive and how the light hit him as he sat in this yucca. I will revisit this as a larger painting later since I have a photo of this guy and a friend in the same yucca.

Once again, the "Painting Plan" helped me out. I had only about 1.5 hours after work to paint while it was still light. Yes, I do have lamps, but it's not the same. Natural light is better. So, I looked on the plan for birds and for small image plans and out came this small one. Perfect for after work "meditation".

Progress shots...

Quick Draw
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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Opuntia Orange Crush

Opuntia Orange Crush
19 x 25
Pastel on Sennelier LaCarte in Van Dyke Brown

These are some BIG orange Opuntia flowers. I do enjoy painting larger, gives me room to spread out and entertains me for a longer period of time. This was a two day painting. By the end of the first day I was thoroughly frustrated. So, I walked away bravely. The next day, I approached the painting again with fresh eyes and different energy. The painting just flowed on the second day. I think it was about using a different value scale with the oranges - more deep brown red. In regard to the other colors, I also liked the turquoise with the orange, so used that more so than green in the cactus paddle/body.

In retrospect, I could have used UArt vs Sennelier with this painting. The reason I say this is because I ended up doing a lighter background to pump up the contrast It didn't start out quite so light...it just grew into that. The under painting is using Pan Pastel. Here's the progress shots on Day 1. I did not take any progress shots on Day 2.



Starting the block in w/Pan Pastels

Finished Pan Pastel Block in and touch up w/Red Ludwig





Monday, December 19, 2016

Beavertail Blooms

Beavertail Bloom
9 x 12
Pastel on Art Spectrum Colourfix in Umber

Beavertail is a lovely Opuntia species. The flowers are screaming pink against some grey bluish teal paddles. This was the day's warm up painting on a VERY cold day - 24 degrees this morning. I did the timer again, so got some good progress shots. Listened to Beethoven while painting. Nice.

My next painting is much larger...so it will be awhile before I have that ready to share. I think I may have needed more warming! 

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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Cholla Trio

Cholla Trio
9 x 12
Pastel on Art Spectrum in Umber
I don't think I've painted Cholla before, and that's quite surprising. These particular cholla from the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix were truly amazing in their dual color of red/pink and orange/yellow. I also liked how the light came through them to really set them off. This painting is also about just doing regular painting - whether I feel like it or not. This is a one hour painting - so 3 progress shots. I'm working to try to loosen up and yet I get so far into the details - even in 1 hour! Maybe I just need to honor who I am. Inspiration isn't always there - we just have to keep after it. The following quote came along in my weekly reading/email feed from FASO (Fine Art Studio On Line). I would also reference the book by Carol Marine "Daily Painting' and a book by Jason Horejs Starving to Successful. Just PAINT! The practice makes it better and not every day will be great...but it is progress, not perfection.

Can You Wait for Inspiration?

Some artists would argue that trying to be more productive is futile, as inspiration doesn’t come on demand. I love artist Chuck Close’s response to this idea:

“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.”
Chuck Close

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Saturday, December 17, 2016

Orange Bloom Pink Buds

Orange Bloom Pink Buds
12 x 9
Pastel on Art Spectrum Umber

From "The Painting Plan" is one of the blooms from the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. What I liked about this particular photo and cactus was the single screaming orange bloom and many buds to follow. I liked the gold and mint green of the forming buds. So many stages of development.

I set my time this session and this painting is a 70 minute painting. So three progress shots and the final shot. It's not that I'm trying to paint fast, or slow, just want to get progress shots to share. This is just how it flowed today.

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Monday, December 12, 2016

Transparent

Transparent
18 x 14
Pastel on Canson Touch in Tobacco

This is my interpretation of an Agave attenuata or fox tail agave. What fascinated me about this agave is how transparent it seemed in the light. It practically glowed. 

Some days are just harder than others - the days when my muse is cantankerous. Yet, we must persevere. On days like these, I struggle coming up with things to paint. So, on these days, I go to the new "Painting Plan List" and figure out what paper I have and how long I have to devote to my painting.

Cantankerous muse days are why I came up with a list of my favorite botanical photos that I've taken. I'm sure this list will grow to include other photos/subjects. Some days, I just feel like my muse is on fire. On one of those days last week, I funneled that energy because I was traveling for work and couldn't paint. So, I started "the list" in Excel of the photo image numbers and a brief description. It morphed to include the planned painting size, orientation (portrait, landscape, or square), and suggested paper type/color. What's even better is that I can sort by paper type and plan my orders so I can order in bulk. I can look to see what paper I have, then find a painting to fit.  Feel like painting a floral, sort by florals. Feel like painting an agave - search for agave and pick one! It's a list of 104 paintings - well minus the 3 I've done (see green font in the image below). Right now, I see a lot of possibilities. I'll keep you updated on how the process progresses.