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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?  

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