This piece is based on some narcissus flowers that are past their prime. The way the blossoms dried, they looked as if they were facing into a wind.
Winds of Change – approx. 22×30 inches, watercolor
A blanket of white snow on the ground makes for exciting graphic compositions, but we don’t often have such scenes to paint here in Texas. The Monahans sand dunes offer similar opportunities, though. There’s a storm brewing in this watercolor. Just as I set up to record my view en plein air, a sudden windstorm blew through – my easel and kit were blown off into the dunes, and my eyes, ears, and car were filled with sand! This painting was done from the vivid memory, safe home in the studio.
Monahans Sand Dunes – watercolor SOLD
I don’t think it’s necessary to travel to spectacular locations for Plein Air subjects, but if I happen to be where the scenery is grand, I’m sure going to paint it. These are some well-known landmarks from Big Bend.
There might have been a post about this piece previously, before I added the background. It began as a botanical study of a dried branch from my jimpsonweed that echoed the shape of a calla lily, and remained in that state for a few months as I debated whether to keep it as a botanical or turn it into something else. I began thinking of the branch as not just resembling the calla lily, but as actually changing into the lily form through the process of death. The lily also put me in mind of brides and nuns.
The background was added to associate my subject with the 12th century abbess, artist, and composer Hildegard of Bingen. In Hildegard’s thought viriditas, or greening, shows the power of the divine in creation. I decided to have my withered branch levitating in front of a background pattern of acanthus leaves.
This piece was juried into the 53rd Southwestern Watercolor Society Membership Exhibition, where it won the Watercolor Artist/Creative Catalyst 2 award.
I’m happy that my watercolor Acrobat has been juried into this year’s Texas and Neighbors regional show by Soon Warren. The exhibit will hang at the Irving Art Center in Irving, Texas from April 16 to May 14.
Irises form such interesting twisted shapes once they are past their prime. Acrobat is a study of one of these withering blossoms.
I’m happy to be included in the Botanicals show at the Georgetown Art Center, along with some other wonderful artists.
The show runs from March 4 – April 10. Anyone in the Georgetown Texas area, be sure to stop by! These are the four pieces in the show.
This is another rose that is blooming like crazy right now, named Louis Philippe. It looks a lot fuller and darker now than it does during the heat of summer. Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of the bush for this one.
I am really enjoying doing these botanical studies.
Louis Philippe, about 6×6″, watercolor on Fabriano Artistico hot press
In 2016 I’m hoping to do a series of portraits of roses. We are having a very mild winter and several of my roses are still blooming, which means there’s a great opportunity to do some warm-up paintings. I’m especially fond of the old garden roses and this is one of them, called “Old Blush”. It’s often much paler, but in cool winter weather the color is more intense.
Old Blush, about 9×7 inches, watercolor on Fabriano Artistico Soft Press.
Here’s a photo of one of my Old Blush bushes. Nice and cheery on a December day, isn’t it?
About three years ago I was doing some botanical studies and lately have returned to them. I enjoy the close observation they require and as a gardener I am of course interested in all types of plant life. Seed pods are nice because they don’t change over the time it takes to draw or paint them and I can work from life without any photographs. Flowers and leaves change from hour to hour.
This is a study of Mexican Buckeye, I think. I’m not a super botanist, although I do try to pay attention! My subject was gathered from a shrub growing in a wild area not too far from my house.
6×8, graphite with touches of gouache on cream colored Stonehenge paper.
So often an artist’s statement about their work contains a passage that begins “I have a passion for…..”. I’m a little jealous when I read things like that, because I have no overruling passion. It seems like absolutely everything is worthy of my attention. How do you pick and chose, how do you say no to a subject or a style of painting, that is just as attractive as any other?
I got a little insight when an artist friend posted this quote from John Cage on Facebook:
“When you start working,
Everybody is in your studio-
The art world,
And above all, your own ideas-all are there.
But as you continue painting,
They start leaving,
One by one,
And you are left completely alone.
Then if you’re lucky, even you leave.” John Cage
It’s that lucky experience of being totally in the flow that is my passion. Subject matter, medium, painting style, and all the rest, they could be anything. They could be chosen for other reasons.