Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Inside Out Translucence

Inside Out Translucence
10 x 8
Pastel on Pastel Premier Board (Italian Clay)
And now for something completely different. One of my pastel friends shared an article about growing as an artist. Give it a read - it's good stuff - Unusual Habits to Keep You Growing Artistically

I enjoyed the article and am trying to take it to heart. I'm working on something I know is hard for me - and I feel like I'm failing. But that's good. My nemesis is translucence and I'm fascinated with translucence. 

This is a view I had recently from inside my house, looking out into the setting sun through the Virginia Creeper vine around my screened in porch. The colors w/the back lit sun were mesmerizing. 

This will be one technique I am going to have to research more thoroughly. For now, this is my attempt at translucence. Below is the actual photo. Likely, part of what I'm battling with is the camera, the way it blows out the light. So, will need to observe this more in actual light - with my own eyes - not my camera eyes. 


Monday, November 27, 2017

Lemon Laden

Lemon Laden
12 x 9
Pastel on Wallis Belgian Mist

Here's another view of my lemon tree. Literally, the poor thing is drooping with the weight of the lemons. I think she may need some support. The same thing happened last year - so many lemons. We were worried, so we pulled the lemons at one time, and later learned to leave them on the tree until needed. We gave so many away. 

While we didn't have a lemon tree at our childhood home, we did have a lime tree and boy did it have thorns! It was always loaded with limes. You could walk up to it and give it a shake and the ripe ones would fall off. So many went to waste. It was too much for one family. We gave away what we could...but the animals would come for the rest. More on that in my next installment on tangerines.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Lemon Drops

Lemon Drops
12 x 9
Pastel on Wallis Belgian Mist

When I was a little (okay, I'm still short), my mom would put me outside under the tangerine trees with a drawing pad. I was entertained for hours (and out from underfoot I expect). My Dad was a great gardener as was my Mother. My Dad however gravitated to fruit trees. We had 2 tangerine, 2 orange, 1 grapefruit, 1 lime, 1 fig and many peach trees. Time it seems is circular (and check out the movie "The Arrival" for more on that subject).  While I can't sit under our Meyer Lemon tree, she's laden with lemons, and I'm still admiring the view and still drawing. 

I'm going to be doing a run of still life paintings. I'm down to ONE....all my other still life are sold - lemons, oranges, kiwi, radishes, beets, eggs, peaches. apples etc. My recent commission client told me I really needed to do more still life, and the realization yesterday when 2 of the last 3 sold, it confirmed his statement. So, here we go - get ready for fruit and other plant based foods...and perhaps more eggs. 

I didn't get any progress shots of this one since I was "in the zone", but here's me when I was a kid drawing under the trees, as well as a shot of our Meyer lemon tree.


Me under the tangerine trees


Our potted Meyer Lemon on the Front Porch

Friday, November 24, 2017

Familia Azul

Familia Azul
24 x 32
Pastel on UArt 500 with Added Tinted Pumice

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it's not about things, but about being thankful, grateful, and for me, being with my family. There is no pressure to present each other material objects that will fade with time. We are there with the gifts of food we each bring to the table and most importantly, to enjoy each other. 

This agave colony lives in my front yard. It is the offspring of a single blue agave I brought home to my garden 10 years ago. Blue Child is part of this colony, but this is a better view of more of the family. It's a tangle of agave and a bit of a challenge to see who starts where and what leaf belongs to which agave. There are at least 3 large agave in this image, and more sprouting from "umbilical cords" below. I recently thinned the family and took offspring to my students in my pastel class with the Wimberley Valley Art League.

I started this painting last week and have been working on it off and on for the last several days. Today, we went to see Disney's latest film "Coco". It's absolutely delightful and the homage to Frida Khalo - priceless. I almost fell out of my chair laughing. But the message in the movie is the importance of family and remembering them even when they are gone. I grew up on the border and Dia de Los Santos is a special day to me, so the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) is near and dear to my heart as well. 

I came home inspired by the colors in the movie - especially the pink and orange. I had been struggling w/the background on this painting, it had gotten too pale. I decided to give it some pink and orange and it felt good. So, here she is - in honor of my family - Familia Azul.








Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Ballena Azul

Ballena Azul
24 x 32
Pastel on Tinted Pumice Enhanced UArt 500
COMMISSION - SOLD

Last year, on July 20th, I completed a painting "Green Javelin" on a very special day, the anniversary of my mother's death. I wrote about how I "knew" the painting was finished and it was almost like a message from my mom. Today, I got a similar message.

This painting is a commission for a client in Dallas whom I met at the Cottonwood Arts Festival. He was drawn to my booth by my banner which has an image of Green Javelin. After he and his wife looked at what I had they decided to explore a much larger commission. I've been working on this painting for a few weeks sharing studies, progress shots etc. Today, I had that "feeling" this was done. I texted my client with a photo of the painting to date. I let him know that it was ready to sign with his approval. His reply was 💗💗💗💗💗. I asked it that meant yes and he said "Um Duh!". 

Today is my mother's birthday. There are no coincidences - only God Winks. My guardian angel guided me once again on timing. 

This painting is named Ballena Azul- or Blue Whale. The agave is the Agave Ovatofolia - Whale's Tongue. She's off to the framer tomorrow. We'll make that Christmas delivery early!!

Study with the paint swatch of their home - theirs is the middle grey

Examples of background colors on another study
Study of a different agave
The winner - Agave Ovatafolia - Whale's Tongue





Thursday, October 26, 2017

Blue Child

Blue Child
12 x 9
Pastel on Art Spectrum Olive Green

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and more appreciative. Sometimes, I have to take a break from botanical paintings. It helps to do other things to realize how much I truly appreciate the beauty of agave. 

This one is from my front yard. It is one of oodles of babies from a single big Agave Americana I purchased when we first moved into this house 10 years ago. That original agave bloomed and died many years ago, but she lives on in the many pups. Since then, two pups have matured and bloomed and passed. Soon, I'll cut down the big stalks. I have this desire to paint them turquoise and hang Christmas ornaments on them.

Here's some progress shots of this child...I'll have her with me at the upcoming Turtle Creek Arts Festival in Dallas Nov 11-12.





Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Yin and Yang Rabbits

Yin and Yang Rabbits
7 x 5
Pastel on Textured Gatorboard

Here's 5 of 5 in the rabbit series. They were so fun and freeing! These two were also part of the birthday party. These reminded me of yin and yang - light and dark. I loved the sweet little brown bunny cuddling up w/the white one and the look of almost sleepy closing eyes of the white one. This was a fun series to do. They just flowed.

I've framed these in a smooth finished rustic wood with Anti Reflective and UV protective glass. These are ready to put on your wall and for $95 plus Texas state tax if applicable and shipping ($15).



Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Right Side Up Rabbits

Right Side Up Rabbits
7 x 5
Pastel on Textured Gatorboard

Rabbits #4 of 5 - or should I have counted these as 4 and 5 since it's a two-fer? At any rate, these two fluffy ones were part of the birthday party. Just cuddling away. One was kind of like a Siamese cat with grey ears and nose. Both were lovely and sweet. How many bunnies qualifies as a fluffle?

I've framed these in a smooth finished rustic wood with Anti Reflective and UV protective glass. These are ready to put on your wall and for $95 plus Texas state tax if applicable and shipping ($15).


Monday, October 23, 2017

Thoughtful Jack Rabbit

Thoughtful Jack Rabbit
7 x 5
Pastel on Textured Gatorboard

Rabbit #3 of 5. This guy frequents our backyard. He's a black tailed jack rabbit. A hare by other standards. He's got REALLY large ears tipped in black. He's really fast though seems to be unbalanced in a way because his back legs are so substantial. I love how the sun was shining through those big 'ol ears.

I've framed these in a smooth finished rustic wood with Anti Reflective and UV protective glass. These are ready to put on your wall and for $95 plus Texas state tax if applicable and shipping ($15).



Sunday, October 22, 2017

Reflective Rabbit

Reflective Rabbit
7 x 5
Pastel on Textured Gatorboard

Bunny #2 of 5. My bunny cache of photos includes wild and domestic rabbits. This particular one was visiting as part of an in home petting zoo/event for my great niece's birthday part a few years back. The rabbits and animals are well cared for and we were a small group. They loved cuddles and would sleep in our arms. This little one appeared to be reflecting on something, perhaps how to get some treats. 

I've framed these in a smooth finished rustic wood with Anti Reflective and UV protective glass. These are ready to put on your wall and for $95 plus Texas state tax if applicable and shipping ($15).



Saturday, October 21, 2017

Daybreak Bunny

Daybreak Bunny
7 x 5
Pastel on Textured Gatorboard
I've returned from a week long business trip for my corporate job. It's always good to see my coworkers but it's also good to be home. While I was away, one of my coworkers asked me to do bunny paintings. I had a couple on my website from years ago that sold way back when. She wanted one for herself. 

So, I got home and started one bunny, and they multiplied  - well, like rabbits! Some are "wild" rabbits from my backyard, another is a jack rabbit (hare). Then I found some photos from a birthday party in home petting zoo from my great nieces birthday. So here we go - 1st Rabbit....4 more to go. 



I've framed these in a smooth finished rustic wood with Anti Reflective and UV protective glass. These are ready to put on your wall and for $95 plus Texas state tax if applicable and shipping ($15).




Saturday, October 14, 2017

Agave Dacytlogram

Agave Dacytlogram
12 x 9
Pastel on Art Spectrum (Black)

I was walking in garden this week enjoying the migrating monarchs and the late afternoon light was just so gorgeous. I walked up to my front agave gardens and took some shots of the Agave parryi var truncata. I liked how this older specimen beared the 'fingerprints' that made it unique. It's those marked ends either damaged by age or freeze. But it makes it unique - like fingerprints. 

I've been re-reading a book I read 20 years ago called The Alieniest. It's about the start of forensic medicine in the late 19th century. In that time and into the turn of the century, fingerprints were not accepted as the unique characteristics as they are today. A fingerprint is also called dactylogram. Hence the name of this painting.


My inventory of smaller paintings is lower than I'd like it to be. The Cottonwood Art Festival last weekend was very good to me. I sold 7 smaller and 2 medium sized originals. I have another show, Turtle Creek Arts Festival in Dallas, in four weeks, so I have some work to do. 



Friday, September 29, 2017

Steel Agave

Steel Agave
24 x 18
Psatel on UArt 500

I've been fascinated with some agave art sculptures. They are made of rusted steel and sometimes tipped in turquoise or red. The shape of these made me think of a painting I did earlier this year called Sinuous Ribbons. I thought I'd do a play on those sculptures as a painting. After doing the Star Series and the Mandala Series with the Chakra colors, I've been considering alternate color combinations of the same image.  So, here's a pass at that thought. I may do more of these in the future in some fashion. No progress shots for this one, I was really in the zone.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Succulent Mandala Solar Plexus Chakra

Succulent Mandala - Solar Plexus Chakra
12 x 12
Pastel on UArt 500

I'm back to the succulents, and back to the easel. It's been a busy few weeks. I did a pastel demo for the Wimberley Valley Art League. I was honored to have been asked and honored that one of the members purchased my demo painting (which I'll post for my next entry). 

With this Succulent Mandala, I am revealing the underlying theme of the mandala - the Chakras. Each succulent mandala, has a different background color corresponding with the 7 Chakra. I've completed the 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th Chakras (orange, yellow, turquoise and dark blue/indigo). They are in square in format and I originally intended them to just be mandala. Per Wikipedia Mandala are

In common use, "mandala" has become a generic term for any diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically; a microcosm of the universe.

The basic form of most mandalas is a square with four gates containing a circle with a center point


But as I painted, I noticed the colors and the chakra came to mind. I'm enjoying the series and learning more about the chakra as I go. Here's a few progress shots of Throat Chakra





Monday, September 11, 2017

Opal Skies

Opal Skies
6 x 8
Pastel on UArt 500

Continuing in the series of remnant paper paintings is Opal Skies. When I took my remnants, which were of skies, I decided I would do various skies from my cache of photos. I searched sky and so many came up from different times. This glorious sunset was a wash of color. What I liked was the color mixing on this one. Truly, the Divine is the best artist of all. It took me some time to realize that we often see shades of green in our skies....well some would say turquoise. Of course - yellow and blue make green! 

I am in awe of artists who paint clouds and skies as a primary genre. It's not easy at all....but it is very freeing. I'm enjoying this diversion from my usual genre.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Snowbound Sunset

Snowbound Sunset
6 x 6
Pastel on UArt 500

This is the next in the series of remnant paper paintings. As many of you know, I live in Texas, so snow is not something I typically see. BUT...my BFF (and I literally mean BFF because I've known her since I was 5) lives in Utah! A photo from her back balcony inspired this painting. What I liked about the image was how the snow reflected the setting sun. The colors in the southwestern skies are always amazing and Utah doesn't disappoint. 

Up next, is a sunrise at home...

Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Long Haul

The Long Haul
7 x 9
Pastel on UArt 500

This is the first of a series of sky/sunset/sunrise paintings. They are done on the remnants of some longer pieces of paper that I've re-purposed. That's the lovely thing about Uart and some other pastel papers - you can take a piece of another painting and make it into something different. Of course, you can do that with canvas as well. These started as a painting I worked up for a local call for artists. I did three passes at the painting then selected the one I preferred. For the two that I did not prefer, I cut them into pieces. You'll see more of the preferred painting next week after the deadline is passed.

This remnant became a painting of a photo which my friend Steve S took. He drives motorcycles across the country. This was a photo on the road of a either a sunset or sunrise, I don't recall. What I liked about his photo was how the road in front of him was illuminated by his headlights. The vanishing point of the road into the redness of the sky was intriguing. The painting became "The Long Haul" since that what Steve does. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Gila and Aloe

Gila and Aloe
5 x 7
Pastel on Primed Gator Board

Here's another painting with the primed Gator Board. I can thank my friend Michael S for the photo resource. He's a photographer friend I met at the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden. Though he's called the "hummingbird whisperer" he also gets great shots of other garden inhabitants, like this male Gila Woodpecker checking out the sweet aloe.

So, as I'm trying this new technique, part of it is figuring out how I want to lay down the primer. This one was more uniform like a canvas, up/down left and right. One can see it in the sky section more clearly. It's definitely harder to paint w/the primer. I'm going to continue to work w/these small subjects to refine my own ways with this. I do like that it gives it a more painterly look. It definitely gives more of a feather texture for the birds very easily.

I think I'm also going to try some different colors for the primer. Purple, Terracotta, umber, grey, olive green and sienna are generally my go to colors. This will be a fun journey. I did manage to get one progress shot on this. I'm concentrating very hard for this :)


Sunday, August 27, 2017

Sunny Oriole

Sunny Oriole
7 x 5
Pastel on Textured Gatorboard


We're riding out the hurricane that has decided to squat in Texas. We dumped out the rain gauge at 6 inches this morning and it's already at 2 inches again. We have a few downed oak branches, but we have power and water. Our family is safe. We're praying for my sister's home in Port Lavaca which is on the coast where the hurricane made landfall. This is the home she opens to me when I show my work at the July art festival in Rockport. Praying for the residents and town of Rockport that has been devastated by Hurricane Harvey as well as those in Southeast Texas still being battered by the rain. 

We had to cancel our art events this weekend including our member exhibit and awards event, as well as our workshop by the wonderful Rita Kirkman. Since I can't take the workshop this weekend, I'm still trying out her technique. The technique uses primed/textured gator board. I primed with the requisite Golden fine pumice gel mixed w/nickle azo gold acrylic. Then I built up values using terracotta Art Spectrum texture. She makes it look so easy!!  Clearly, I need the workshop. I don't think my textures are quite right. I'm probably in too much of a hurry, patience is a virtue, but it's not one of mine.

Since it's so gloomy today, and will be for another week, I needed a happy sunny subject. Rita's process seems to lend itself well to fur and feathers, so I thought I'd try one of those. She also does lovely portraits. No progress shots today....

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Agave with Retama Petals

Agave with Retama Petals
9 x 12
Pastel on Art Spectrum Terra Cotta
Today, we went to the garden store because my significant other has been talking about getting a Palo Verde tree for weeks on end now. He's been fascinated with them. Once at the garden store, I learned something about these trees. What we see in Texas may not always be Palo Verde. Turns out, we have Retama trees which have bigger thorns. Well, we ended up with a Retama. Both have nice green trunks and there are more differences  and I'd recommend the read. By the way, Palo Verde translates to green stick, Retama translates to broom.

As I'm getting ready for my show in Temple next weekend, I was checking my stock of various paintings on hand and realized I need a couple more for my rustic barn wood frames. So, with Retama/Palo Verdes on my mind, I dug through my cache of agave and found this one that had the petals of the tree in it's leaves. It was a nice afternoon diversion.



The initial palette
The final palette
picked up more for flower petals