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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thankful For Art

We have passed through Thanksgiving in the U.S. when we spend time thinking about situations and people surrounding us that bring us joy, happiness, and thoughtfulness.  We then give thanks and express our gratitude.  Those of us who create acknowledge our passion, desire, and ability to make something where there was nothing before.  As artists we also realize and honor the torment under which we live, well, maybe.  Personally I am comfortable, sometimes, and greatful for the torment.  If it weren't for this torment I might not take the time to create.

The constant torment of what to create, how to create, when to spend the time, questioning the result, desiring acceptance of the work.  The questions go on and on, endless in fact.  Everyone who is successful conquering the torment has embraced it, used it to push their work forward and knows it will return over and over again.  It's the plight of the artist, but one for which we should all be thankful for it is a tool and part of who we are and part of our ability to create.  

beginning the background on my newest painting

the background painted in with high and low lights and a great deal of movement

the prickly pear paddles begin to appear

close up brushing the pigment onto the canvas

the painting as of today....loads more to do

To contact me click HERE
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Thursday, November 21, 2013

It's Good To Be Conflicted,

Or is it?

Do you remember earlier this week I posted about sketching for a new painting and having indecision about exactly what to begin next because I had two very different ideas swimming in my head?  After completing the last Desert Plant painting I planned to move forward with another, however I made a trip to the Palm Springs Art Museum to see the Diebenkorn exhibit (click HERE to visit PS Art Museum site with info)

Woman on a Porch

                 Woman on a Porch
                  Richard Diebenkorn

and while there wandered into the Western/Indian exhibition section to see if there were new items being shown.  Sure enough, there was a great, yet small, basket display and I was introduced to Guadalupe Arenas, a Cahuilla, who lived and created in the Coachella Valley during the late 1800's into the early 1900's.  

Basket woven by Guadalupe Arenas

This woman fits perfectly into my Indian Women Portrait Series, so of course I was captivated and began to research her life and work and sketching for a painting which would represent her.

I settled on a composition but I am having problems finding photographs of her and since I want to know what she looked like to make a more accurate representation, and since I want to begin a new painting immediately, my decision was made.  The easel will hold a Desert Plant painting for now while I continue research on Guadalupe Arenas.  That conflict resolved.

Back into the sketch book to face more conflicting situations. Which plant and which composition?

 Barrel Cactus with side or top view?

 Fence Post Cactus?

Some composition of Prickly Pear?

I found myself drawing one and another and another Prickly Pear composition adding in large, flamboyant flowers much like that in the previous painting, shown below.

Prickly Pear Blossom

I believe these conflicted feelings were resolving themselves. Next step was to 'live' with the sketches for a few hours and after selecting one, paint a small canvas board.

Sketches with small canvas board painting.

These canvas board paintings allow me to work out color, movement, high and low lights as well as my satisfaction with the composition.  OK.  All conflict resolved.  Was it good to be conflicted?  Not sure, but I do know it is good to have a canvas on the easel and pigments in the palette, all ready to go.

To contact me click HERE
To visit my web site click HERE

Monday, November 18, 2013

Painting Completed and Delivered.

It Was A Busy Week In The Studio.

Prickly Pear Blossom

The deadline, dictated by the sale of the painting out of the La Quinta Museum exhibition and the need to replace that sold painting meant I spent hours in front of the easel creating the replacement work.

In last week's post I showed you the beginning of this painting, Prickly Pear Blossom.  Now here is a very brief pictorial of how the rest of it came together.

Prickly Pear Blossom
40 x 30
Acrylic on Canvas

Once the painting was complete it was delivered to the La Quinta Museum and installed in the on-going exhibition.

I got so involved with the process of painting I did not stop to take enough photos.  Promise, promise I will do a better job of recording the steps on the next painting, because so many of you have requested just that.  

I started sketches over the weekend for two canvases.  One is another desert plant;  the other is an Indian Woman portrait.  I feel conflicted.  I want to create both.  Which to begin????  Check back.  I will post the sketches and the decision.  More busy and more hours in front the easel coming up.

To contact me click HERE
To visit my web site click HERE

Monday, November 11, 2013


Snowbird.  It's Not A Bird.

Ok, yes, I admit it.  I am a Snowbird.  It gets cold, snow flakes begin to fall and my wings spread, flapping me south.

Wikipedia defines Snowbird as ' someone from the U.S. Northeast, Midwest, Pacific Northwest or Canada who spends a large portion of winter in warmer locales such as California, Arizona, Florida, Texas, the Carolinas or elsewhere along the Sun Belt region of the southern and southwest U.S., Mexico and areas of the Caribbean.' 

Hmmm...the Caribbean sounds nice, but I am not there, however dreaming of turquoise clear, clean, warm ocean water and white sand beaches is right up my alley.  It's the Southern California Desert for me and has been during the winter months for about twelve years.  Hence my desert plant paintings, palm tree paintings and desert inspired floral paintings.  

Having just arrived in warmer climes I set up my studio space which is small and simple.

When I say small, I do mean small.  This is it.  Drop cloths, one table, one easel and a stool.

Sketching began, got a canvas onto the easel and started painting the first day here.  

Simple line work

A bit of shading

Selecting the palette by brushing some of the colors into the sketch book

A bit more color and detail in the sketch 

All this hurry came about because one of my paintings in the Creativity La Quinta Take Two Exhibition just sold (that's a great thing). The exhibit continues into January so I must replace the sold painting with another of similar size. 

Oops....recent focus has been on the Indian Women Portraits so I don't have a replacement that would be appropriate.

It was an easy decision to start sketching desert plants since the sold work is exactly that, and remember I flapped my wings and headed south into desert country where these magnificently sculptural plants surround.  Great inspiration!

Big Flowered Euphorbia

After the sketches and palette selection I painted a small rendition of the of work on a canvas board. This allows me to see the composition in paint and make any adjustments to the design or palette.

Before leaving the mountains I took my various existing containers that serve as palettes and mixed all the color together...from the Indian Women Portraits, from Tahoe Rock paintings, and from a couple Pine Cone commissions. When all these wonderfully rich pigments are combined you get a lovely, very usable, grey.  I added a bit more blue to end up with what I wanted to use as background color in this new painting.  Big strokes with the grey and some Titanium White left lots of expression swirling around what will become the plant.

A few days and many hours at the easel, painting from top to bottom, left to right I was able to lay in almost half of the Prickly Pear. 

So this is where we're at (don't you just love that grammar) studio set up, working long hours, partially completed painting, enjoying warmer climes, admitting I am a Snowbird, really ??? .... a Snowbird?  

To contact me click HERE
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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Indian Woman Portrait #6 Completed

After Some Relax and Refresh Time

Dat so la lee With Five Degikup
is complete.

Dat so la lee With Five Degikup
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas

If you follow my Artist's Facebook page, you have seen photos of the painting as it progressed since my last blog post.  All the detail in this painting took hours and hours in front of the easel, and as it neared completion I decided to add the orange border around the design element that represents the throne back. That addition led to painting the wrapped edges of the canvas the same orange tone and smearing the pigment a little bit around onto the front of the canvas...that orange was created by mixing cad red, cad yellow and a bit of titanium white...all from the simple palette used for these Indian Woman Portraits.  I have talked about this in previous posts.

Detail showing edge of canvas painted orange.

 Each of the baskets represents actual baskets created by Dat so la lee, Queen of the Washoe Basket Makers.  The designs on her head scarf as well as the symbols across the upper 1/3 of the canvas are  are also inspired by a basket she wove. 

This portrait, #6 in the series, is painted with the same palette as the others however I included a great deal more titanium white to lighten the overall appearance.  I worked the paint in the body much like I do when I paint rocks.  

Here are the six completed paintings:

Dat so la lee with Eight Degikup


Dat so la lee

Sally Snooks

Queen of the Washoe Basket Makers

Dat so la lee with Five Degikup

I am plowing back into my research, sketching, coming up with what I will paint next in this series.  

To contact me click HERE
To visit my web site click HERE