Monday, November 28, 2016

Precarious Pretties

Precarious Pretties
18 x 14
Pastel on Canson Touch (Indigo)

After 5 days off work, my muse has returned. I've finally been able to go through my photo files and find many things I want to paint. How I can go through this same cache of resource photos and find nothing on some days? Usually it means my spiritual bank account is low and it's time for outside time, time with friends and family. Of course, good nutrition and exercise help too. I was able to do all those things on my days off. Delightful.

Also delightful was these blooming Strawberry Hedgehogs in my cache of photos. The vibrant pinks of these flowers are hard to paint...particularly to find the right colors in my box. But, I have a box of Jack Richeson big pastels I bought used that have a good range of pinks. The other thing that was difficult about this painting were the thorns. They are so dense. But, I'm on my loosen up kick, so I gave it a shot! Just paint - just do it.



In Progress - Almost done
Sorry - Forgot early shots

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sorghum Sentry

Sorghum Sentry
12 x 9
Pastel on Art Spectrum Colourfix Olive Green

This was my warm up painting today. I'm really getting into just doodling - just having fun and trying not to over think my paintings. Some would say "loosening up". I've been ruminating about this painting for quite some time - since July in fact. 

Back in July, I was at the Rockport Art Festival over Independence Day weekend. It's a big show - 47 years and counting. I was blessed to be able to stay at my big sisters house on the coast about 1 hour north of Rockport. Having a place to stay really helps with the costs to do shows. On the drive to/from, there is a cross street from the main road that is lined with sorghum fields. I cannot convey to you the beauty of these rich green fields topped with orange/gold tips against the turquoise blue sky. Then, I drove by at sunrise and my jaw dropped. The colors were on fire and the red wing blackbirds were flitting about the fields - oodles of them. Oh my gosh. I pulled over to take a few photos. Of course, the minute I got out of the truck, they would fly further away, so my photos weren't that great. I had to use other reference photos for the bird.

I did up this guy on an olive green background. He was truly just a playful painting. I enjoyed loosening up with him.


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Barney

Barney
12 x 9
Pastel on Art Spectrum Colourfix Deep Ultra

Meet Barney the Barn Owl. Barney is a real owl who lives in South Texas and was lucky enough to have his photo taken by Shelly S. Morales. I spied his photo on the Birds of Texas Facebook group and asked Shelly if I could paint Barney - and she said YES! I was thrilled! 

I was absolutely enamored with the texture and color his feathers and they just screamed for my pastels. I really felt he needed to start on a navy or dark blue background. I was fortunate to have exactly one piece of Art Spectrum Colourfix in Deep Ultra(marine blue). One of the many things I love about pastels is the various textures and layers one can create. I really enjoyed working with the various pale blues, greens and pinks in his feathers, in addition to the obvious rust colors. Barney.  What's really nifty about him in real life is how he is so perfectly camouflaged with the rusting tin of the barn roof. I took a little artistic liberty with the tin and gave it a more turquoise tint to play against the the rusty orange of the rust and his feathers. 

Thank you again to Shelly! Barney was a wonderfully delightful friend to paint. How blessed you are to have him living in your barn.



Sunday, November 20, 2016

Beauty of the Beast

Beauty of the Beast
19 x 25
Pastel on Sennelier LeCarte Grey
Still working on getting back into the swing of painting. I don't know why I'm hell bent on painting in a larger format. It just seems easier right now....and all I want right now is easy. I spent the week in Indianapolis, so I'm glad to be home. Yesterday, was spent with family, and it went by oh so quickly. We celebrate birthdays quarterly so we have a designated time to get together as siblings. This cycle included my birthday. My big sister and brother both made me some BEAUTIFUL gifts! I am blessed to part of such a creative family. Today was the first day I got to paint since last week, and it was delightful.

I'm did get a bit of good/interesting news during the week. I received an email requesting I apply for the Dallas Arboretum Artscape show. I did not know this show existed, so I was very grateful to the person who reached out to me. I applied, so now we wait to see what the jury says. If I get in, the show is the last week of April. 

Now, about this painting. It's a white cactus flower - and white is hard to paint - well at least for me. I thought this flower was so delicate and beautiful. Yet it is quite a precarious juxtaposition. Such delicate beauty among the thorns. I'm realizing as a write this, that it is a lovely representation of many situations in life - the beauty amid the precarious moments. Perhaps, unconsciously, I was painting my own situation - challenging at the moment  - but beauty will be there and will bloom. 



Sunday, November 13, 2016

Surprise on El Cielo

Surprise on El Cielo
29 x 19
Canson Touch Indigo

Oh my goodness it's good to be back at my easel. I was seriously worried that I wouldn't remember how to paint. It was hard to get back to it, and the work I did yesterday got washed down in the sink this morning. Would the same thing happen today? Fortunately, the sink episode did not happen again, or at least I don't feel like it did. I feel pretty okay about this painting.  Painting, drawing, the act of creation is like exercise - you have to keep it up. Like my painting, most of my rituals, including exercise and diet, have been disturbed lately by changes at work, the corporate time of year (start of the fiscal year), and even the seasonal/time change. Usually I do better with changes, but this time, it was alot at once. I think I'm on the other side now, and the simple act of just taking a walk helped kick start the process as did incorporating vegetables into every meal.

The subject matter of this painting is from a morning walk in September of this year. I usually go to Phoenix for many of my cactus resource photos, so I  was absolutely over the moon to find this treat around the corner from my house on El Cielo street. Ceilo means heaven in Spanish, and I was in heaven for the two days this gorgeous cactus bloomed. It's a night bloomer, so I was up early every morning as I waited for the blooms to open. Now, it has fruits which I'm sure the mockingbirds will find soon.

It felt good to paint big, I got to spread out and get some gestural strokes into the work. Sometimes, like yesterday, I felt constrained by the small paper (5 x 7). I started small to get warmed up, but now, I realize I needed to STRETCH out!



Thursday, November 3, 2016

Angelwings

Angelwings
7 x 5
Colored Pencil on Hot Press Watercolor Paper

Angelwings is the second of two hummingbirds I prepared for my last shows that I forgot to share. She's another of my friend Michael Searcy's girls. He is the hummingbird whisperer in Arizona. With the use of the Fairy Duster flower again, I consider her to be the sister of Fairy Dusting which I posted previously.

I like how her wings are reminiscent of an angel. The Mayan believed that our loved ones return as hummingbirds. I had an experience with one when my mother passed that causes me to believe there is merit in the Mayan belief. Our loved ones are always with us, we just can't always see them in their corporeal form.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Fairy Dusting

Fairy Dusting
5 x 7
Colored Pencil on Hot Press Watercolor Paper

This is one of the hummingbirds I took to my most recent shows. I was so busy getting ready for the shows that I totally forgot to share this one on my blog. Being too busy is not good for my mind. I get so busy being a human doing, I forget to be a human being. Just being. Watching birds is a way of being. Watching nature is a way of being. I think that is why I enjoy painting - it's a way of meditative visual observation. I have to stop and look - and SEE - truly see. 



Degas is credited with the quote - "Art is not what we see, it's what we make others see". To date, my work has been very representational. I paint what I see for the most part. In the upcoming year, I'm making a commitment to become more free and interpretive in my work. I've been dipping my toe in the water for some time. I noticed this when I started putting blues and purples into the wings of hummingbirds a few paintings ago....and I liked it! This little girl is on a Fairy Duster plant. Thank you to my kind friend Michael S for the resource photo.

Living large (well not really very large, but getting bigger).


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Costa and Ocotillo

Costa and Ocotillo
7 x 5
Colored Pencil on Hot Press Watercolor Paper

Here's another little bit of fun I had while at an art show over the weekend. This little guy is a mashup of a couple of photos I had of a Costa hummingbird way off in the distance sitting atop an Ocotillo stalk. Sadly, it was a poor photo, so I had to use better resource images I had of this guy (see also Chipper Costa). I also wanted him to have a pretty flower for color, so I dug up some Ocotillo photos. So, here is Costa and Ocotillo!

Drawing is meditative for me. I really like using colored pencils because they are so portable and clean. These little 5 x 7's are easy to carry too. I had been taking photos of all my hummingbird drawings to date. Sadly, I realized that was not good when I tried to do up some greeting cards of these guys. The photos leave the white paper a grey/bluish tint. So, I'm off to Photoshop to clean those older ones up. I'm scanning these white backgrounds for new drawings. Thank you to my friend Nancy H for the tip!!