Friday, January 27, 2017


12 x 9
Pastel on Art Spectrum (Umber)
I've revisited one of the roosters from Hawaii - Lua O Ka Moa (Second Rooster). In this version, I'm using sanded/textured Art Spectrum paper in Umber. Personally, I prefer sanded paper. I just think the colors look more vibrant. But, after doing a side by side, I'm really not so sure anymore. The sanded paper certainly has more tooth, but are the colors less vibrant. Hmmmm..

Getting started
yes, working late

Almost forgot the under wing 
blue feathers again

Here's the side by side of both Canson and Art Spectrum. Which do you prefer? Left (Canson) or Right (Art Spectrum). Both were done in about the same amount of time - quick and loose. I suppose for "true" comparison, I should have used black Art spectrum paper. So, perhaps the difference in cool/black vs warm brown may change the opinion as well. 

Art Spectrum

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Lua O Ka Moa (Second Rooster)

Lua O Ka Moa (Second Rooster)
12 x 9
Pastel on Canson (Black)

This is the second rooster painting from the Hawaii trip. Another fast and loose. This is the second in a series of roosters from the parking lot across from the lava tube. As with the prior painting in the series (Mua Moa), I did this on Canson. Fast, Loose, trying hard not to over think it - and wow is that hard!!! I realized as I looked back, I almost forgot those lovely blue feathers under the wing...then I realized, sometimes they showed and sometimes not? Same chicken or different? Not sure. Such wild beauty!!! 

It was an overcast day, so not a lot of light/shadow. I need to make some up. But for the exercise, I learned a lot.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Mua Moa (First Rooster)

Mua Moa
12 x 9
Pastel on Canson (Black)
In the spirit of fast and loose, and the enjoyment of different papers, I decided to take a big departure and move from botanicals to some roosters I saw in Hawaii. When we visited a lava tube, there were several roosters in the parking lot. Here's "First Rooster" - only translated to Hawaiian thanks to Google. As you surmised, there will be more to follow. I actually worked on both side by side.

This is a quick painting and practice for an upcoming private class I'm teaching this weekend for a student who's main objective is painting birds. I need to get warmed up to birds. I do often paint birds and roosters and chickens and I enjoy how well pastels work for feather imagery. 

I also did this one on the smooth side of Canson paper. I'll definitely be revisiting this guy on sanded paper.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Purple Antherium

Purple Antherium
13 x 10
Pastel on Black Archival Matboard
Antherium are an interesting flower. They almost don't look real, they look plastic. While visiting the HTBG (Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden), they have a whole section of various Antherium species: pink, purple, mottled in various colors - big and small. 

I was having a frustrating painting day with my prior painting (Apostle) and knew it was because of contrast/value. So, I decided to just work on loosening up and grabbed a piece of black archival mat board. Sometimes, my framer has matboard knock outs she gives me. They are essentially colored archival paper with limited to no texture. Sometimes I put texture on them, but today I was impatient. So - off I went. I was surprised how many layers this matboard could accept. You can see the leaves in the background are more textured than those in the front and I kind of dig it - fewer layers. This was a short time frame "doodle" for loosening up..and it felt good. Going with instinct.

Sunday, January 22, 2017


12 x 9
Pastel on Art Spectrum Colourfix Leaf Green

Meet the apostle flower from the HTBG (Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden). Did I know what these was when I took it's photo - heck no. I just liked it!! I loved loved loved this flower and now I'm learning more about it. I liked th purple center area with stripes and the golden attachments with burgundy and lime green as well. These flowers lined the walk in the garden by the ocean. Their growing habits reminded me a lot of the butterfly or African iris we grow in Central Texas. 

Some days are easy, some days are hard. Today was a harder day for painting. I feel tight and I fought with this guy. Mostly, I fought w/the background color. I may go back to a darker color background for the white flower - contrast. I think the leaf green too much the same value. What gives paintings "oomph" in my opinion - value/contrast, simplicity, composition, lost and found edges, different application (thin/thick). I also need to review the paintings of my pastel heroes and look for white subjects and see how they handle. 

I will likely revisit this flower.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Dappled Alabaster

Dappled Alabaster
19.5 x 25.5
Pastel on Sennelier LaCarte Grey

This is the first of many paintings inspired by specimens in the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden on the Big Island of Hawaii. On our recent visit to the Big Island, my significant other found this garden was there, so we designated one day of our trip for a visit vs going sea kayaking/snorkeling. If you are interested in botanical gardens, I strongly recommend this garden. We are all blessed by the devotion and vision of Dan Lutkenhouse who founded the garden. 

When we arrived on the windward side of the island on Onomea Bay, we found a little pull off prior to the gardens and hiked down to a quiet little cove with black rock beaches. I was moved to tears by it's beauty. 

Little did I know what I was in for when I went into the gardens. For this botanical artist, it was Nirvana. Of course I expected Gingers and Heliconia. But there was also "Bromeliad Hill", Anthurium Corner", and the orchid garden among many other things. The website and folks at the front desk say it's about a 1.5 hour tour. Yeah, not for us. I spent at least 30 minutes in the orchid garden alone. As I culled the photos, this particular orchid jumped out at me. I knew this was the specimen that would begin the Hawaiian series. i'm not done documenting the painting plan for this visit and I'm already up to 55 potential paintings. 

It had been over a week since I had painted when I started this orchid and she seemed to thwart me at every turn. I finally had to walk away for a few days. Since we had been gone for a week, I should have known to start with a small warm up painting. But I was so inspired by this orchid, I went big. When I came back to the painting, 6 days later, I felt much clearer on what needed to be done, and she just "bloomed". I expect there will be many many more blooms to come. Here's the progress shots....

End of Session 1

End of Session 2 and Run Away
I did NOT like this

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Sunkissed Aloe

Sunkissed Aloe
14 x 18
Pastel on Art Spectrum Umber

After work paintings are hard to do this time of year as the light is still fading early. I did actually kick on my lamp for the last hour or so to finish this one out. I realized last night that I was really craving some painting time. I have gotten spoiled with the holidays and 4 days off in a row. The image is from my painting plan list and after work, I try to focus on smaller paintings. Now that I think about it, I probably should have gone smaller given my time frame. I just enjoyed my last aloe adventure so much, I wanted to do another aloe. So, thank goodness for electricity! I enjoyed a different color palette on this guy. This a soap aloe that has been reddened by the sun. Keep them in the shade and they stay more green. Lots of sun - they turn red. 

This work was done primarily with Terry Ludwig pastels - maybe 8-10 total. I used 1 sennelier (black/dark dark grey) in the background and 1 NuPastel to tip the spikes on the aloe leaves. I got a couple of progress shots - drawing and 1 hour in. This was about a 2 hour painting.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Glow Aloe

Glow Aloe
14 x 18
Pastel on Art Spectrum Umber

Another glorious painting day! Another painting that basically painted itself. It is clear to me that the more relaxed I get, the easier painting gets. Today was day 4 of a series of days off from my corporate job. Over the summer, I met another artist at an art show in Rockport, Texas. He advised that once he began painting full time, his painting improved. It will be awhile before I can paint full time. The Beach Boys are singing in my head "Wouldn't it be nice if we were older, and we didn't have to wait so long." I don't think they intended the lyrics of the song in quite that way, but it worked for me today.

This painting was a more confusing than Agavenacci. By confusing, I mean that I got lost in the leaves, lost my place. I had to stop and draw it back out about 2/3 of the way in. What I like most about this painting is the way the light shines through the backs of the leaves at 12 and 2 (using a clock face reference). I also like the way the leaf at 11 ripples or undulates a bit with the light shining through. I toyed with naming this painting "Aloenacci" as it's also a representation of the Fibanacci sequence in phyllotaxy, but I also toyed with naming it "Aloe Undulation". When I think about what attracted me most to the image, it was the pattern of the leaves. Utimately, it's usually about spirals for me. I'm fascinated by spiral patterns. What I am left with on this painting though is the glow of the light. In the end, that's what we strive to paint - light.

Sunday, January 1, 2017


26.5 x 18.5
Pastel on Art Spectrum Terra Cotta

Happy New Year! It's a fresh start: 12 chapters, with 365 blank pages! Today, I begin writing my story with a large painting that was NOT on the painting plan. I went with my intuition today. I felt I needed to paint a blue agave and decided to just search my cache of photos for 'blue agave'. Initially, I thought I was going to do a Blue Glow Agave from my painting plan. Then I came across this older one and I knew, this was IT! It was the correct way to go. This painting flowed easily - just "fell off the brush" so to speak in a matter of a few hours.

Sometimes, we have to go with intuition. Listen to the spirit. I've written about the word "inspiration" - inspire...taking our thoughts from the divine. From ..... 

1. to fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence:
His courage inspired his followers.
2. to produce or arouse (a feeling, thought, etc.):
to inspire confidence in others.
3. to fill or affect with a specified feeling, thought, etc.:
to inspire a person with distrust.
4. to influence or impel:Competition inspired her to greater efforts.
5. to animate, as an influence, feeling, thought, or the like, does: They were inspired by a belief in a better future.
6. to communicate or suggest by a divine or supernatural influence:
writings inspired by God.
7. to guide or control by divine influence.

I particularly like 6 and 7. For those of you who work a program of steps, those are the ones where one 'drops the rock' and we begin to allow the universe to guide us. This painting is named after the Divine proportion or Fibronacci sequence and phyllotaxy. Here's a good article on the subject

Now, on to my black eyed peas Texas Caviar, pork loin and cabbage.....for luck.