Saturday, September 24, 2016

Monk's Halo

Monk's Halo
14 x 18
Pastel on Canson Mi Tientes (Indigo Blue)
Some days you have it and some days you don't. I wish I could figure out why. Some days paintings flow, and some days I fight with them.  However, sometimes through the fighting, we learn something. I was really struggling with the translucency of these yellow flowers. First of all, yellow is a difficult color for me. Translucence is another issue as well. I realized as I thrashed about, that I was going for too much saturated color and needed more muted tones. So, I grabbed a grey green and VIOLA! It became translucent yellow.

I also struggled with what to do with the texture on the body of the cactus. The actual specimen has a dot like texture. I could not see myself pulling that off without it looking cheesy. So, thank goodness for pastel and it's normal nature of creating a netted pattern. After all the fighting, I'm pretty okay with this painting.

The 'Real' Monk's Hood Specimen
The common name of this cactus is Monk's Hood. The proper genus/species is Astrophytym ornatum. I considered naming the painting by it's scientific name since I felt this cactus was in a very ornate state with it's showy flowers. In addition, the latin name sounded very religious - hah! I could just imagine the monk saying mass in Latin. But, being the heathen I am, I opted for something based on the common name. Since I really liked the glowing nature of the flowers in the photo, I decided this monk had a halo. 


  1. I fight with my pieces at times too. My current piece and I have been fighting for weeks. It's coming along, but I'm having to really WORK for it.

    This piece is stunning. You should be proud if what you learned, as the outcome is simply lovely. Well done!