Sunday, March 27, 2016

Blue Morpho

Blue Morpho Study
9 x 12
Colored Pencil

I'm getting to know the Blue Morpho butterfly as I prepare for my next series of paintings. They will be part of a series of paintings inspired by my trip to Tulum. While in Chichen Itza I saw a Blue Morpho and a Heliconius melaponum (or something like that - rectangular black butterfly with red bands on it's forewing). We also saw Monarchs. These along with the Mayan ruins in Chichen Itza and Coba inspired some paintings including the butterflies, flowers along the way and some mayan ruin influences. So far there are three paintings in the series and I'm considering two more which will inlude the Yucatan Jay and an oriole of some sort I also saw in my travels. 

I ordered some butterfly models - so was getting to know the Blue Morpho using colored pencils.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Oxalis

Oxalis
Colored Pencil on Watercolor Hot Press

I wanted to practice drawing leaves that weren't green. I walked around the yard and found this oxalis. It was really difficult to draw!! Even now, I realize now I didn't finish out the shadows on the bottom left leaf. As I drew, because it took me awhile, the leaf started to wilt, making it hard to draw. May have to visit this one again.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Monterrey Oak Shed Leaves - Study

Monterrey Oak Shed Leaves
Colored Pencil Study

I'm behind on my blogging, though I've been posting on Facebook. I like blogging because it's my artistic timeline. So, here goes...

These are some colored pencil drawings of Monterrey Oak shed leaves. In Texas, the Monterrey Oak and Live Oak drop leaves in the spring and almost immediately, put on their new green leaves. I'm taking a class in Botanical Illustration in colored pencil with Wendy Hollender. I didn't get to attend the "live" virutal class on Monday, so watched the recorded session on Tuesday. Following the class, I collected these shed leaves for a drawing session to settle some anxiety. I was really anxious that evening because of some unexpected changes in my worklife. I remembered that the instructor shared personal story how she used drawing to settle her anxiety during a challenging time in her life due to health issues.

I know that enjoy drawing and it takes me into a meditative state, but it has been a long time since I've felt stress. After working through these leaves, I was much more relaxed and slept well. A good reminder about the importance of creativity in my life.

Yes, technically, these leaves need some work. The veins should be more delicate...but they achieved their most important goal for me at the moment - peace.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Echinacea

Echinacea
5 x 7
Pastel on Pastel Premier Sanded Paper

I have a new goal or way of trying to stay fast and loose. Aside from painting small so I don't have a big commitment, I can also put a time limit on myself. I know - so novel huh? Yeah. No. It's been done for ages...but it was like an "aha" moment for me.

Anyway, these are some purple cone flowers (Echinacea) I saw on a Saturday morning by the coffee shop. I couldn't resist stopping to take some photos. By afternoon they were in a painting. 

Painting time - 30 minutes. I probably still fussed with it longer than I should have. I think it lost some of it's "freshness". I think painting is like taking standarized tests sometimes. I took boot camp type class in how to pass a certain test (e.g., the Project Management Institute PMP test). In the class, you learn your testing style. For example, I learned I am a "bad" answer changer - I should stick with my first instinct rather than second guess and change my answer. The majority of the time I did that, my answer was right to begin with. So it is with painting, I need to stick with my first instinct. I'm actually starting to develop one!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Monarch and Pentas

Monarch and Pentas
5 x 7
Pastel on Pastel Premier Sanded Paper

I was looking for more flowers to paint in anticipation of the upcoming Arists and Artisan event at the Wildflower Center. I searched my cache of photos for Purple flowers looking for some Spiderwort. As I searched, I happened upon this old photo and landed here instead - kind of like the butterfly I suppose. I landed. But this painting isn't about the pink penta flowers, it's about the butterfly

I guess you could call this a warm up for my future series to come that includes butterflies. I ordered some butterflies to be models for my paintings and I'm looking forward to painting them. This was alot of fun.



Saturday, March 12, 2016

Pink Columbine

Pink Columbine
5 x 7
Pastel on Pastel Premier Sanded Paper

I went to visit some friends and they had bought some flowers for planting. It was such a treat to see this Columbine blooming. I couldn't resist taking a few photos. 

People often ask me how I'm able to paint so many paintings. There's no big secret - I paint in the evenings and on weekends. But what really helps is to paint small. I often paint in the 9 x 12 and 12 x 18 range, especially in the last 6 months. But I had forgotten how freeing it is to paint 5 x 7. 

After my workshop last weekend on loosening up, I feel the need to continue in that trend of being loose. It helps to do small things - no chance for big mistakes or big losses. If I don't like it, wipe it down and start again. In fact, this painting was something else I started, didn't like, so I wiped it down. Easy - no great loss.



Friday, March 11, 2016

Yucca Promise


Yucca Promise
7 x 5
Pastel on Pastel Premier Sanded Paper

The flowers this spring have been spectacular. The yucca in the area are budding in what I think are record numbers. This particular stand of yuccas caught my eye last weekend as we (my sister and me) traveled back and forth to the pastel workshop we were attending. I had to stop to gawk at them and take photos. 

This is a small test of an composition. What I like about this stand of yucca is the depth in the stand - the perspective or atmosphere. I will likely do a larger painting of this same image or something similar. I was also fascinated with the spotted patterns on the blades. It's hard to achieve that on such a small space.


Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Desert Breakfast Club - Greeting Card Set

Greeting Card Set #2 - The Desert Breakfast Club
For my 2016 art show season I'll be offering boxed greeting card sets with some of my more popular paintings. Here is the second set called "The Desert Breakfast Club". The series was inspired by a trip to the Phoenix Desert Botanical Gardens and seeing the various birds enjoying an early breakfast among the saguaro and various other cacti. Later, on a morning walk back home in Texas, I saw a group of birds congregated along phone pole wires one morning and I thought "It's like they are a club". Their behaviors reminded me of the various personalities in "The Breakfast Club" - one of my favorite brat pack movies. It then occurred to me that the birds in my latest painting series were all enjoying breakfast and the name of the series was born. 

I'll be debuting the card sets at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Artist and Artisan event in Austin, Texas March 19-20. Additional information and a full list of artists is available on the website at http://www.wildflower.org/artisans/

Following the show, the card sets will be available for order via my website and of course at future shows. The set of cards will be $20.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Star Series - Greeting Card Set

Greeting Card Set #1 - The Star Series
I am excited to share with you that in this 2016 art show season I'll be offering boxed greeting card sets with some of my more popular paintings. Above is the first in set called "The Star Series". I was fascinated with alternate views of my beloved agave and decided that a top down view would be interesting. I felt they were like natures stars on earth instead of in the sky. 

I'll be debuting the card sets at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Artist and Artisan event in Austin, Texas March 19-20. Additional information and a full list of artists is available on the website at http://www.wildflower.org/artisans/

Following the show, the card sets will be available for order via my website and of course at future shows. The set of cards will be $20.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Marathon Sunrise

Marathon Sunrise
8 x 10
Pastel on Art Spectrum Olive Green Paper

This is the second installment of the value shift paintings from my workshop with Marla Baggetta. From a value perspective, this painting follows Carlson's theory of light on angled planes better. The lightest plane to darkest plane - 1st Sky, 2nd Land, 3rd is angled panes, last is upright planes. So, yes, the trees are darkest in this painting- and more "normal". But does that make this more boring? 



This painting was my second choice of the scene. Even still, the grass - or dirt - in the actual resource photo was certainly not orange. I'm definitely exploring more freedom in color choices - just doing what I feel within a given value structure


Monday, March 7, 2016

Marathon Sunset

Marathon Sunset
8 x 10
Pastel on Art Spectrum Colourfix Burnt Umber

Over the weekend, I attended an amazing workshop with Marla Baggetta. The title of the workshop was "Loosen Up Intensive". At the end of the workshop, I thanked Marla for helping me to find my voice and to give myself permission to "be free". For 3 years now, I've been painting pretty much what I see. Sure, I edit photos in my head and in composition. But now, I'm learning to paint what I don't see in new ways. 

One of the things we learned is to shift the values of the various subjects around. For example, compare this source photo with what I've painted above.



What I enjoyed about this photo was the railroad tracks going towards the sunset, and the purple of the mountains against the orange sky (complementary colors). No, the trees are not golden - the trees are actually one of the darker values. For fun, I reversed the trees to be the lightest value. It was positively freeing!

Tomorrow, I'll post my take on the image in the more 'realistic' view with traditional Carlson's Theory of angles. In short, the theory is how light hits a plane and progresses from lightest values to darkest. The lightest source in the landscape is the light - the sky. Subsequently, the flat plane of the land is 2nd, 3rd is angled planes, and finally, 4th is upright planes.