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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.

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