Agave Americana

Agave Americana
20x24 oil on panel

I painted this large because this variety of Agave is massive. I was dwarfed by an enormous stand of its tangled arms in the Huntington Garden in Pasadena California. Focusing on the base of a single plant gave structure to the web of leaves, reaching and bending around and through one another. I read a description of this variety of Agave as looking like a plant that is growing underwater, flowing with the currents. I certainly felt a bit drifty while painting this.
                                         The tonal drawing, in Burnt Sienna

                                             I decided to start by laying in the darkest areas
Sticking to the median color and value of each shape,
I developed the underpainting

Then I spent days finding the variations within each shape,
and the rhythms of the whole