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







Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Purple Lily Burst

Purple Lily Burst
14 x 18
Pastel on UArt 500
Still in my water lily phase and digging through my own water garden photo cache and my neighbors water garden lilies as well. This one belongs to Sam and Sheila. It's a lovely starburst purple tropical with a variegated pad. I'm much happier with this rendition of variegation. It's also my first try at water droplets. I couldn't locate the lesson I had on water droplets, so I had to wing it. I should have just googled the process, but I'm pretty okay with the outcome.

Overall, water lilies are darn hard to paint. I think I've found a new challenge and I have a pond full of these as well as several other neighborhood ponds, and the best water garden store in our area only a few miles away (Hill Country Water Gardens and Nursery if you're interested).

Here's the progress shots. I did under painting with pan pastels. I decided to take the second water droplet off the lily pad - that one I didn't like.




Sunday, August 6, 2017

Big AL and Pal

Big AL and Pal
14 x 18
Pastel on UArt Board
Another scene from my water garden. We have leopard frogs and sometimes they sun themselves during the day. On this particular day, my Albert Greenberg (which I sometimes call Big Al) was blooming prolifically. I love this waterlily for not only the beautiful flowers held way above the water, but also the variegated pads. Now, while those pads may be pretty to look at they are a challenge to paint without looking contrived. I may need to practice some more.

I  missed my progress shots other than my gouache under painting. But at least I can show you the actual photo from the garden :)




Gouache Underpainting


Saturday, August 5, 2017

Moondance and Little Nemo

Moondance and Little Nemo
14 x 18
Pastel on UArt 500 (on board)
About this time 2 years ago (July 19) I painted this image on a piece of Canson black paper. I never did anything with that painting, it was more of a study and distraction. One of our older pets was not well at the time, and we let him go about a month later. This year has been a challenging one for us again with pet loss. We lost another older male cat in April. In June and July we lost two of our older large koi (Serenity and Flop). 

I was getting bored of painting succulents and needed a break. I went by my favorite neighborhood garden store (Hill Country Water Gardens and Nursery). I took photos of succulents and lilies. But this photo is from my own pond a couple of years back. The water lily is called Moondance and it's prolific. HUGE ivory flowers. I'll probably do a few more water garden paintings. I actually do enjoy both my water garden as well as my succulents.....talk about opposite ends of the spectrum!
Original Photo




Gouache Underpainting



Friday, August 4, 2017

Succulent Mandala Throat Chakra

Succulent Mandala Throat Chakra
12 x 12
Pastel on UArt 500
This is the succulent Echeveria gibbiflora. What fascinated me about this specimen was not only the ruffled leaves, but the color variation - like a psychedelic kaleidoscope of color. However, when when I put it in my painting file next to the Mandala #1 and #2, I realized the pattern kind of broke with the other two. That being said, the Star Series had agave with pointed leaves and rounded. So, I'm going to leave this one up to my followers...and maybe we don't decide on if it stays or leaves the series, until more are complete. Perhaps, it will be better with others that are coming soon.

On my last post, it occurred to me to pattern the succulent mandala after the chakra. My plan was for five in the series. There are seven chakra...so....we shall see where this goes. So far we have the chakra listed below - clearly, I may have to reorder the numbers or rename the paintings....and I can do that because that's my privilege as the artist! I like that!


1. Succulent Mandala #1 - Indigo - Third Eye - Purple (or deep indigo blue) is the color of the third eye chakra (sixth chakra); it evokes intuition, extrasensory perception, inner wisdom.


2. Succulent Mandala #2 - Orange - Sacral - Orange is the color of the sacral chakra (second chakra); it carries meanings associated with emotions, creativity, sexuality, and is associated with water, flow.


3. Succulent Mandala #3 - Turquoise - Throat - Blue (or Turquoise) is the color of the throat chakra (fifth chakra); it symbolizes self expression, expression of truth, creative expression, communication, perfect form and patterns.


Here are the progress shots on this latest entry in the series and how it will look framed. And....once again - I forgot to under paint, and I cannot blame it on being sleepy this time. Now I'm just forgetful!






Sunday, July 30, 2017

Succulent Mandala Sacral Chakra

Succulent Mandala Sacral Chakra
12 x 12
Pastel on UArt 500

The second in the succulent mandala series. This one reminds me of my cream spike agave, but this little one has a lot more ping and peach in it. The challenge with these little guys is - well, they are little. Second, it's keeping the pattern and leaves correct. Sometimes, the actual plant has a damaged leaf, or I've inadvertently taken a bad photo. but, that's what we get to do as artists, is add or take away in our paintings. 

The color scheme on this one is bright and fun, where Mandala #1 is more blue and introspective. Perhaps, I may align these w/the chakras. Hmmm....that may be fun. More thought on that.  

As I begin to post my progress shots, I've come to realize why I struggled with this one more - I did not under paint! We had a late evening the night before, and I had so much fun at the birthday party, I couldn't get to sleep. So, I'll blame my lack of under painting on not being awake. Oh well - we live and learn. I may have to do this one again.






Saturday, July 29, 2017

Succulent Mandala 3rd Eye Chakra

Succulent Mandala 3rd Eye Chakra
12 x 12
Pastel on UArt 500
This begins a series of five, and not just because I'm lazy and don't want to clean up my pastels. This is a series I've had in mind for some time. Succulents, little ones. I bought 5 antique silver frames in 12 x 12, and have been waiting to have some time to begin the series. I'm doing these up similar to the Star Series (which are available in a card set or individual prints - all originals are sold). 

One of the primary reasons I'm drawn to drawing nature (Hah! Drawn to Nature), is Mother Nature's patterns. As I sat back and looked at the finished painting, I realized it looks like a mandala. I am fascinated with spirals in nature (fibonacci sequence phyllotaxy). Mandala are defined as:

noun
1. Oriental Art - a schematized representation of the cosmos, chiefly characterized by a concentric configuration of geometric shapes, each of which contains an image of a deity or an attribute of a deity.


2. (in Jungian psychology) a symbol representing the effort to reunify the self.



I'm really digging the second definition, because I'm beginning to come out of a darker emotional period to find myself again. This series couldn't be more meaningful - and serendipitous. I did not plan this....call it akashic inspiration.

I'm not sure of the species of this particular little succulent. I'll have to go back to look at one of my favorite garden store (Hill Country Water Gardens) where I took the photo. Still being in my clear state of mind, I did remember to do some progress shots. I under painted this one w/pan pastel. I wasn't sure what color of background to use, then saw the blue plastic pot. I chose to leave the pot out, but add it back...not sure.