Saturday, February 27, 2016

Mountain Laurel Seed Pods Study

Mountain Laurel Seed Pods Study
12 x 5
Colored Pencil on Paper

Today was a doodle day. It was a gorgeous day in Texas and I took advantage of the afternoon to draw outdoors. 

I heard something from a friend today that struck me as profound. She said "You can't pour from an empty cup". I realized in that moment that indeed, I've been trying to pour my art from an empty cup. My inspiration, my muse is nature and I've been indoors for weeks. It was time to get out. Just walking in my garden and seeing the Mountain Laurel in bloom filled my cup. The further I explored the more my cup was filled with Verbena and Salvia Gregii already blooming and Lorapalatum about to bloom. I also spied a gorgeous sedum in bloom. 

As my botanical illustration classes with Wendy Hollender continue, we will be moving into leaves next. I couldn't pass up this opportunity however with the Mountain Laurel to do a few more round shapes - the seed pods. I also collected some seed pods for Pride of Barbados that I will play with next. I did bring in a few Mountain Laurel flowers. I've started to work on that image, but it will take a while. It is very complicated.

Off to travel for work tomorrow. Good thing pencil colors are easy travel companions! 

Thursday, February 25, 2016


5 x 7
Pastel on Pastel Premier Sanded Paper
This is one of those times that it's hard to get the photo to look like the painting. Cameras dull the colors. No matter how hard we try to adjust, it just doesn't always work. In the actual painting, the flowers are more purple, but alas, I can't get it quite right to show you. Anyhoo - these are spiderwort flowers. I'm in the process of doing a few more Texas wildflowers in anticipation of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Artists and Artisans event on March 19-20. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Bloomin' Chicks

Bloomin' Chicks
18 x 12
Pastel on UArt 500 Sanded Paper

Oh my goodness gracious does it feel wonderful to feel wonderful and be able to paint again! Sure, I painted a bit while I was sick, but it's just not the same. It's a struggle. This painting was a pleasure - it flowered. Truly, I was going to type flowed - but flowered came out - and that is how it is!

This is the 'cousin' painting to "Totem Chicks" from November. This is same plant now in bloom. Truly, today, I felt like I bloomed. I'm in complete and utter gratitude today for this gift- the gift of an easy painting, of feeling well and for all the blessings in my life. 

Here's a few progress shots of Bloomin' Chicks and the side by side of the cousins.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Wren and Prickly Pears

Wren and Prickly Pears
10 x 8
Pastel on Art Spectrum Sanded Terra Cotta Paper

It's good to get back to painting, and amazing how quickly one (well me anyway) forget the basics - like composition and value. This is one of those paintings I didn't fully take to a thumbnail sketch before I started. Had I done that, I may have immediately seen that my initial pass at this was too centered and was missing values or contrast. I cropped the piece from 12 x 9 to 10 x 8 and also punched up the value/contrast on the pears and the bird.

Painting is like exercise. One has to keep it up. I'm glad to be feeling better and getting closer to finding my muse.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Yucca Bloom

Yucca Bloom
12 x 9
Pastel on Richeson Board

I've been sick for over a week and boy does it feel good to paint - and of course finally feel better. I'm finally on the downside of this ridiculous illness. One week of bed, sleep (lots and lots of sleep), antibiotics, cough medicine, mucous stuff, and wow. I'm so over it - and hope I'm over it. 

I've been thinking alot about yucca flowers.  I had seen one in my neighborhood before I got sick, but it had faded by the time I got back to it Sunday morning. Then, I drove to drop off some paintings for a juried event (thank you to Judge Marla Bagetta for acceptance into the Austin Pastel Society Juried show). All along the way, I looked for yucca in bloom. Nothing, nada, zip, zilch. So, I came home and made a store run for some supplies - including Yakult to try to get my intestinal flora back in business. The downside of antibiotics - intestinal nonsense - exactly what I wanted after being sick. As I exited the grocery store, I took a different door out of the building and viola! There was a yucca in bloom!!! Hurray! The best part is that it was down at my level!!! I took a few pics of it in situ, then plucked a couple of stems.

I came home and happily sat down to draw and ultimately, my first painting in a very long time. Hmm...almost a month. Yes, I've been doing some homework, drawing for my botanical illustration class, but I finally got to draw just for me. 

Sadly, I do think my muse is kind of missing right now. I'm trying to figure out what to do to find her. I probably need a nature outing...but I'm going to hold off for a bit until this cough is finally gone. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Pine cone and winged seeds

Pine Cone - East Texas
Winged Seeds

I'm continuing the exercises in my lessons on Botanical Illustration with Wendy Hollender. After acorns, comes pine cones. There aren't any pine cones in Central Texas (at least in most areas). However, a sweet friend of mine gave me some pine cones from East Texas - complete w/some sand. As I picked one up today, the winged seeds fell out. So, I started with the seeds, one at actual size, then again sized x 2. 

The pine cone is another story entirely - definitely a challenging exercise. I chose the one that was most closed. I had it set up on a frog holder and set it on the arm of my mission chair, so now that I think about it, my head was above the pine cone. Therefore, laying down next to the drawing, it's a different angle. Initially, the pine cone on it's branch came complete w/some long needles. Until our new 9 month old cat decided he wanted to sit with me - then he saw the pine cone and it was far too interesting. So, I lost alot of the needles that I had started with. Oh well.

I did draw the pine cone showing one of the winged seeds nestled in it's place. I think when I moved it around later, I think it fell out. Now, retrospectively, I think it's a distraction and makes the whorl of the scales seem crooked. Oh well, we draw and learn. I look forward to doing this one again and doing more studies of the scales alone. They have a very intriguing shape.

Monday, February 1, 2016

To Burr or Not to Brrr....that is the Acorn

Burr Oak Acorn
Side View and Bottom View
Cup Scale Detail
This past weekend, it was so delightful in Texas - high 70's - so not BRRR as it should be in January. Instead, I worked on drawing BURR oak acorns as I continue my distance lessons of Botanical illustration in colored pencil with Wendy Hollender. These are images of a Burr Oak acorn. If you've never seen one, you're in for a treat. These things are ginormous!  I got really frustrated with the side view. I had to calm down and do detail on only the 'scale' repeat pattern. The repetition was calming and meditative - one of the many reasons I draw. Once my mind was quiet, I figured out what to do. 

After I put the actual acorn up to the drawing did I see that I represented it much too rounded. The acorn cup is much more squared off. So, I'll be doing that again. 

The lesson also includes learning pattern from a pine cone. Though I'm in search of pine cones to borrow, I found this Burr Oak cup served as a good starting point. 

Can you tell I'm really enjoying these classes? By the way, I felt guilty for sitting outside and drawing all day. Why is that? Why do I feel a level of guilt for doing this? I need to explore that feeling more.
Burr Oak vs Red Oak Acorn and a dime for size
Bottom View with Actual Acorn
I couldn't get the real acorn (Left) to set straight
Side View with Actual Acorn
(and the prior drawings of the Red Oak acorn)