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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Seven Barrels
12" x 40"

High and low lights completed.  Painting finished and moving on to a 36" square commission of three desert plants:  Fencepost, Agave, and Barrel Cactus.   All of these plants grow in my yard, so not only do I have constant inspiration but the joy of being surrounded by these unique shapes which are living sculptures.

Golden Barrel Cactus forms a single very round globe of often gigantic dimensions.  Specimens four feet in diameter are not unusual.  Its ribs are lined with hooked yellow spines and it is sometimes referred to as mother-in-law's cushion.  The top of the plant is covered with thick, white wool.  Its deep ribs expand and contract depending on the water content of the plant.

Fencepost Cactus come from Mexico where it was planted as a fence due to its vertical columnar shape, rapid growing nature and the ability to place cuttings in the ground and have them root quickly.  Given a little bit of water, the cactus should grow 1 to 3 feet each year.

Agaves have a large rosette of thick fleshy leaves, a spiny margin, each ending in a sharp point.  They are popular ornamental plants as well as a basis for tequila.  During flowering, a tall stem grows from the center of the leaf rosette and bears a large number of short tubular flowers.  After flowering, the mother plant dies, but suckers or pups are frequently produced from the base of the stem.  I am constantly digging up the pups and moving them to other locations in my yard where they grow and thrive.  It is a common misconception that agaves are cacti however they are not, but they are closely related to the lily and amaryllis families.

So that is a bit of info about the plants in the painting on which I am now working.  Come back to see photos of how the painting is progressing.

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