Saturday, December 30, 2017

Brown Egg Blue Egg

Brown Egg Blue Egg
9 x 12
Pastel on Wallis Paper

When I was thinking of names for this painting, Dr Seuss came to mind - One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. But I could never fit such a thing on a name card in a booth, so I went with Brown Egg Blue Egg. Thank you to my friend Sandy M and her "girls". I am constantly amazed with the volume these gals put out. I am particularly intrigued with the different colors of brown, tan, and of course blue.

I fiddled with this painting quite some time. Sometimes, I just have to stop fiddling. It's a hard thing to know when a painting is done. Often, I take a photo and find something I don't like. The camera is my tool - it helps with getting that long view and finding those little things that sometimes we don't see when we are too close to the work. Standing back is important too, and sometimes, just putting down the sticks and walking away.







Thursday, December 28, 2017

Sunny Spot

Sunny Spot
9 x 12
Pastel on Wallis Paper

I continue to be fascinated with the lemons from our Meyer lemon tree. So glad I've captured these as both photos and paintings. Today, in anticipation of the arctic blast coming this weekend, we've picked the last of the lemons and put the tree in the garage to stay warm. I may have a few more paintings in different "poses" - slices etc, with glassware etc. I just enjoy the simplicity of fruit and toning a sphere/oval. 

I struggled with this painting more than "First Pick". I knew I didn't want the bowl/lemons to be centered, as that would be too obvious. The focus is the light anyway. What I struggled with was how to compose the light on the surface where the bowl sat. I actually took it to an app to try some different things. I ended up moving the surface down and cornering the light more. What I finally ended up with is mellowing the light on the surface overall. As I brushed out the area I wanted to work on I realized I wanted to make it more subtle over all...and that's where I went with it.


Original image

Digital edit #1 - lowering surface line on the left and changing shadow
Makes lemon stick "up" more
Shadow too symmetrical - though most realistic

reverted back to original on right side shadow
I like the triangle the light created on the left



Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Dawning Fawn

Dawning Fawn
7 x 5
Pastel on Pumiced Gatorboard

This is a fawn I did in early December in a class with Rita Kirkman. It seems "de rigueur"  to work on furry or feathered animals in a class with Rita. So I dug through my cache of deer and fawn from the yard and came up with a couple of fawn. I did the same two deer twice - once on Saturday and once on Sunday. It was HARD work! Rita's class taught me a different way of painting and it required THOUGHT for me - not instinctual painting. Maybe for some folks it's instinctual to paint by temperature in addition to value, but I'm not there yet. I also learned I need to vary my pressure in application much more to be able to work the translucent layers of gold and terra cotta used in Rita's method.

I came home and know I have more work to do in this vein. Of the four paintings, this is the only one I liked. I took good notes and glad I did. I came home to commission work that was due soon and the painting was to be like one of my own, not a new technique. It was hard to unthink what I'd learned, like you can't un-see things. Looking forward to taking this method and applying it to my own style and work.




Monday, December 25, 2017

First Pick

First Pick
9 x 12
Pastel on Wallis

What a Christmas morning! A glorious day in Central Texas. I started my day with coffee in my studio and right outside my window is my little friend....Rufous the hummingbird. These little Rufous have returned to my home every winter since 2013. This year, there are three - a male, a female and maybe another male or perhaps an immature male Anna's. I took some photos of "Rufus" and all the while me and the kitties just basked in the sunshine in the window. I'm blessed that my studio (aka former guest bedroom now overtaken with art) gets great light. It's not north light, it's southeast. So in the winter - extra glorious! 

Yesterday, Rick took the first pick from our lemon tree before we wrapped her up to protect her from a freeze last night. Once I had had my fill of hummingbirds and coffee, I glanced over to the lemons I'd placed in a blue bowl for a painting today. Oh my! The sunshine on the yellow!!! 

No progress photos today, but at least, here's a shot of the lemons. Happy Christmas painting before finishing cooking and spending time with my family. Blessed. Blessed beyond measure!


The first of this year's crop

Rufous outside my studio window


Sunday, December 24, 2017

Tangerine Tetrad

Tangerine Tetrad
8 x 6
Pastel on Pastel Premier Board

I grew up in deep south Texas where citrus trees flourish. We had orange,  grapefruit, tangerine and lime trees, but mostly I played in the tangerine trees. The trees were easy to climb and the fruit easy to eat. My friends and I created an imaginary cafe we dubbed the "Tangerine Tango". I toyed with naming this one the same, but a tango is for 2, not 4. So...we'll have to do a duo next. 

While I have a lemon tree in a pot now in Central Texas, we haven't tried tangerines yet. But, it's good to be an artist, and change the fruit on your tree - at least on paper anyway. 

Im focusing on doing some small still life/fruit. I had a collector recently tell me I should do more still life. I looked at my inventory - and yep - he was right. Of the 32 still life I had available, only 3 were left! Yikes! I like painting fruit and arranging the pieces and parts to suit me. Looking forward to doing more small works. Sorry no progress shots again today - I was in the zone.


Saturday, December 23, 2017

Right Coast Citrus

Right Coast Citrus
8 x 6
Pastel on Pastel Premier Board

Continuing in the theme of citrus - since it is after all - citrus season. These oranges belong to my friend Diana who lives in Charleston, South Carolina. I was sharing with her how my lemon tree is literally laden with lemons, and she showed me her orange trees (from a video chat screen). Oh the memories it brought back of being a kid growing up with citrus trees. I had her snap a few photos and text them to me. 

These were my warm up painting today. Diana is also an artist, a jeweler. Her business is called Right Coast Collective. Hence the name of the painting. It felt good to be back to painting small again, but alas, I was so into it, no progress shots today.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Terra Ripple

Terra Ripple
32 x 24
Pastel on UArt 500 with Added 

Umber Tinted Pumice

I'm so happy to share this commission painting with you that was done for a couple I met at the Rockport show this year. They contacted me in late November to come by my studio to look at some of my work. They had a special place in mind in the foyer for an original art piece. I'm so honored they chose me when there are so many artists to choose from! Unfortunately, the pieces I had that spoke to them were too small. So, they commissioned a piece just for them.

They really liked a piece I'd done called "Early Glimmer" as well as "Venti Agave with Cream". They liked the agave Mr Ripple from the former, but liked the full view of the latter. So we did a combo, full view of Mr Ripple. We looked at several different shots and they really liked one where there were some other colored smaller agave in the background - so we added one in. 

We went through the studies and tried some different things to be sure we were going in the right direction.... Study A and Study B below - with and without the background agave and warmer greens vs cooler greens











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.