Monday, June 19, 2017

Pink Cholla

Pink Cholla
9 x 12
Pastel on Art Spectrum Leaf Green

Getting ready for the Rockport Art Festival on July 1st and 2nd...in the city of, you guessed it, Rockport. As I composed my newsletter yesterday, I realized that this spring, I sold forty four (44) original paintings. So, I'm working to bring up my inventory in the small and medium sizes.

While I had the pink pastels out, I thought I'd do another pink floral with some cholla from Big Bend. What I like about cholla is the channeled segments. This is the same palette as my prior painting from my last post. 

The subject of my last blog was about the age old question "how long did it take you paint that". Since I had done the prior painting with the same palette, this one went faster. Of course, it's the warm up and the practice with the set of colors. Different flower, same colors. Only one progress photo on this one. I did take a bit of artistic license on my resource photo by adding in the full flower on the right side. My photo did not include that.







Sunday, June 18, 2017

Strawberry Hedgehogs

Strawberry Hedgehogs
9 x 12
Pastel on Art Spectrum Leaf Green
During my art shows, patrons often ask "How long does it take to paint that?" It's a very difficult question to answer. One could respond "My whole life" as that's how long we've studied and practiced and developed our skills. But the more reasonable answer is "It depends". Truly, it does. It depends on if I'm having a good painting day or a difficult painting day. It depends on if the painting flows or doesn't. I can have two paintings of the same size and one takes me an hour and the other takes me three hours. It doesn't even always have to do with the complexity of the painting. It depends on where I am emotionally and spiritually. Am I relaxed or tense? Do I have expectations or do I just go with the flow? Is it an easy color to work with or difficult? Am I distracted or focused? Yes....it's all that.

Last week was easy painting. Two paintings that I felt really good about in a short space of time. Today - a difficult painting day. The first went in the trash. The second is what you see now. I struggled with this painting. Good vibrant pinks are hard to come by. I usually go to my Richeson Pinks as they are the most vibrant - even more vibrant than some of the Ludwigs. I struggled getting the violet/blue tones in the pinks. I finally just decided to have fun, and just paint...and then it happens. Let go of expectations, let go of resentments...and then you find the gift. Painting often mimics life.

The sketch on Leaf Green Art Spectrum

The initial pallette
I later remembered my Richeson pinks
Paintings always look pretty "dressed up"

Monday, June 12, 2017

Blushing Aloe

Blushing Aloe
9 x 12
Pastel on Art Spectrum Terra Cotta

This is a painting from an older resource photo from a trip to the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden. What I liked about this aloe was the reddish/orange blush to the aloe. This painting just flowed nicely. All Ludwigs and a few Nu Pastels. Another Magical Copal Incense painting, the second in the session for that day. I even remembered the progress photos again! The other thing you may notice is that I'm also remembering to take a photo of the palette of colors I am using. WOW! I am totally grooving now!

Blogging about my art has become not only a way of sharing my work, but it's also my art journal. After this last hiatus from regular painting due to the high season for art festivals as well as my corporate travel, I found reading my own blog and looking at the photos helped me to remember how I paint! I know that sounds silly, but it's true. What did I do for the paintings that I felt worked? What colors did I use, what paper? It all helps to document and track. I can also look at my paintings over the years and see my growth and changes. Yes, this has been an amazing journey! Here's to trudging the road!











The likely frame


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Turquoise Sundown

Turquoise Sundown
9 x 12
Pastel on Art Spectrum Terra Cotta

Yes oh yes, Stella's got her Groove Back!!!! I think it started with doing some yard work this morning. We trimmed back some oleander that froze this winter. We initially cut them back by 1/3, but they need a full cut down. They were coming up from the bases and just skimpy up top. Then it was the crape myrtle suckers and clearing out branches that were growing into the center and crossing the main branches. Then the armadillo trapper showed up and he did his thing - now we have 3 live traps outside. Crossing fingers Mr Armadillo is trapped to be relocated. he's totally tearing up our planting beds and backyard. Finally, after a shower, I spent some time with my like minded spirit friends...then home to paint. 

I started with some "Magical Copal" incense from Fred Soll. Soll's incense is hands down - The. Best. Incense. Ever! My significant read that Rick Allen from Def Leppard was a fan, so we tried it many years ago, and continue to order. Next, I turned on my favorite music (lately it's The Neighborhood). I ignored my painting plan, and just perused my cache of photos and picked something that said "paint me". So, here she is. What drew me to this agave was the turquoise and salmon colors...perfect compliments. I actually even captured some progress photos. Thanks for reading and sharing! I appreciate every read and every comment!


The palette - all Ludwigs




This will be the frame for this beauty

Fred Soll's incense  

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Voluptuous

Voluptuous
12 x 9
Pastel on Art Spectrum Terra Cotta
Although I often rave about my agave Mr Ripple, I rarely mention my other favorite agave in my yard - the Whale's Tongue or Agave Ovatifolia. This agave his big oval leaves....really plush and lush. I often take pictures of her as she sits outside my dining room window (which faces the backyard and pond). She sits to the right side of the pond in one of the gardens around the pond. She's a eye catcher for sure. As agave go, she's quite "Rubenesque" (defined as reflecting the paintings of Rubens - especially with reference to his voluptuous female nudes). This is definitely a voluptuous agave with big wide "hips". I will revisit her in a landscape format to better appreciate her width.

Feeling like I'm getting my groove back...getting closer and closer. This was an after work painting. I didn't feel like painting...but was so glad I did. Now, to get to that process with exercise....doing it even when I don't feel like it...




Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Blue Twister

Blue Twister
12 x 9
Pastel on Art Spectrum Aubergine

The final painting from Sunday's session. I don't think the photo does this one justice, it's much richer in person. What was surprising about this painting was how much fun I had blending the greens and blues to come up with some different blue/greens. 

As far as the resource photo, I really liked the twists and turns of the agave leaves - hence "Twister". Feeling better and better about getting reacquainted with my pastels....I've missed them so very much!




Even the photo of the color selection looks washed out
I did end up adding a dark green, yellow green and dark purple

Monday, June 5, 2017

Sea Green Fire

Sea Green Fire
12 x 9
Pastel on Art Spectrum Raw Sienna
Second in the series of Sunday afternoon paintings. Feel like I'm still getting reacquainted with my pastels. Two months is entirely too long of a hiatus. What I liked about this agave was the yellow green glow in the sea green leaves. When I'm working on my resource photos, I pump up the color so I can imagine more possibilities in the painting. The other thing I liked about this image was the crunchy lower leaf in a rust color. 

I did remember a few progress shots this round - just one! HAH! Yep, progress....little steps.



Sunday, June 4, 2017

Streamers

Streamers
12 x 9
Pastel on Art Spectrum Deep Ultra

Finally! A whole afternoon just for painting! It was delightful. It's been 2 months (April 8th) since I've had a day like today - just for painting. Like exercise or dancing, it's a muscle memory sort of thing. Remembering what colors sing and how my hands should move. I'm looking forward to getting back in my groove. I have no progress shots on this one - it was just more being and doing than thinking. it felt really good. Hallelujah!! I love to paint! 

I like this particular agave because of the yellow streamers through the green. In addition, on the center most triangular leaf at the bottom at about 6 o clock, there is a hint of red violet. I need to work on capturing that a bit differently/better, so I'll probably revisit this agave in the future.

The agave in 'real life'
Sample framing


Monday, May 29, 2017

Scintillation

Scintillation
27.5 x 19.5
Pastel on Art Spectrum Umber
I'm baaackk! WOW - it has been WAY TOO LONG since I've put pastel to paper....April 8th to be precise. If you're counting that is SEVEN weeks and 1 day - that's 50 days. I did do some quick sketches in mid May while I was on vacation in west Texas, but nothing significant. I've missed painting and it was quite a blessing that I had this painting still on my easel to be finished. This painting "Scintillation" is the larger version of Early Glimmer (my previous blog post and painting) It just needed few finishing touches - and I felt like I was still able to paint. I couldn't be more wrong.

Painting requires practice and work. 50 days off is much too long for me. I tried another agave today, twice. Both dismal. I've got to get back to sketching basics - spheres, cylinders, etc just to practice toning. I also need to go through my blogs for progress photos to remember what works for me. Alternately, I can use this break in my process to discover new ways of working. 

In the last seven weeks, I've had 3 weekend art shows (Wimberley, Dallas and Kerrville), For my corporate job, I've had two trips to Indianapolis, 1 trip to Nashville. For my own vacation, I also had a trip to West Texas (Terlingua/Big Bend). In the middle of all this, we also had one of our fur babies pass away. During this time, I was reminded that when we hold on to our old ideas, our results are nil - until we let go absolutely. Surrender. I need to surrender to the fact that right now I'm struggling to paint. I need to be gentle with myself and see that this may mean a new phase, a new way is coming. I hope you'll continue to stay on this journey with me.




Saturday, April 8, 2017

Early Glimmer

Early Glimmer
12 x 9
Pastel on Art Spectrum Umber

During this week, after my early morning walks, I took many photos of the agave and various plants in my yard in the early morning light. They simply glowed in that perfect subtle light. The favorite agave I have is Mr Ripple. It's somewhat of an uncommon agave and I do my best to propagate any pups that come off the mother plant. I know her days will end at some point. She'll send up a huge flower spike which will signal her demise. But for now, I enjoy the beauty.

I needed a bit of beautiful light today. Going through some difficult end of life times with one of our fur babies. I guess it's kind of like the agave. I know eventually the agave will bloom and die, and so will kitty - heck - so will we all. Kitty is presently starting to isolate and I know he's in the studio under some furniture in a warm dark place as I paint. It's comforting to know he is in there with me, even though I can't see him. While that seems a bit dark, it reminds me to live each day to the fullest and experience joy. So, like Kitty is there even though I can't see him, I know my Higher Power is there even though it's not apparent, and that I suppose is faith. 




Monday, April 3, 2017

Anna's in Barbados

Anna's in Barbados
7 x 5
Colored Pencil on Fabriano Hot Press Watercolor paper
Another Anna's hummingbird, this time added into a spray of Pride of Barbados flowers. Once again, my thanks to my friend Michael Searcy for the inspirational photo of the hummingbird. Michael is known as the hummingbird whisperer at the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden. 

The addition of the Barbados flowers was originally an unconscious thought hoping for the survival of my own plant in my garden. As I began this post, I realized perhaps why I was thinking of this flower. The stump did not appear to be sprouting as it usually does. We had some severe freezes for Texas this past winter. But just today, I did notice a small sprout at the base of the plant - so there is hope!!! 

I took a few progress shots of the development of this drawing today. I don't know why I never considered doing this for my colored pencil drawings as I do with my pastels. 









Sunday, April 2, 2017

Ruby and Yellow Aloe

Ruby and Yellow Aloe
5 x 7
Colored Pencil on Hot Press Watercolor Paper

Another hummingbird cutie...loosely based on an image from my friend Michael Searcy. The cool thing about art is I can change the species or sex of the hummingbird. This was an image of a female, I changed it to a male for the color pop.


We have a lot of Ruby throat hummingbirds in Central Texas. Those, along w/the black chinned are our most prevalent. I have a Rufous that comes to over winter with us and usually arrives in September. The Black chinned arrive in March and I finally saw a male this week. I've not seen the rubies yet....perhaps soon. I have another image in mind from my own stock of a ruby throat male. I will likely change the flowers from Red acanthus to something blue like Black and Blue salvia.


Not sure if I'm going to paint in pastels or colored pencils next. I'm feeling kind of haphazard and lacking direction. I know I need to clean my pastels up and organize. That may be a good thing to do when I'm feeling like this - something mindless.