Posts tagged desert
Cactus Shadows IV
Cactus Shadows IV
12x16 oil on panel
The fourth in a series, this painting examines the other worldly color combinations and shapes that cactus offer up.  Caught in the early morning desert sun, the arresting shapes of the cactus were accentuated by the shadows they cast on the broad, extraordinarily colored surfaces of neighboring leaves. 
The first step is the under painting where I work out placement and values
Laying in the first color. I look to capture the basic color of broad shapes, while adhering to the values I  established in my underpainting.
Now I slow down and begin to look for more subtle color and value changes. I build depth of color with glazes, dry brush and constant looking to see more and more detail. I continue to check for accuracy while trying to ultimately express what I found compelling about this specific sight.

The finished painting is at the top of the post.

Cactus Shadows 3

This is the second of  three Cactus Shadow paintings I have completed in the last month. Like it's mates, this is a 12x16 oil on panel.  An early morning trip to the Living Desert in Palm Desert set the wheels in motion and my fingers itching for my paint brushes. 

The foundation - a tone drawing done in Burnt Sienna.

The first several layers of color. 

I continue to build thin layers of color on the big surfaces, and find the light and shadow that define the forms of the blossoms. Then there are the decisions that will give me plenty to do in the sessions between now and the finish - namely correcting the 2 suddenly emerald green leaves in the lower right!

Finding the right color and value for all the background elements, the final glazes of color on the almost translucent broad leaves and all the small finishing details on the blossoms and spines took days of concentrated looking.
The finished painting is at the top of the post.

Indian Wells Seedpods

Indian Wells Seedpods
8x10 oil on panel

This elegant bunch of seedpods hung just to my right as I sat cooling off after a long hike in the desert. As I reviewed the magnificent canyon we had spent the day exploring while shaking the sand out my shoes these bright pods danced against a deep brown wall in the late afternoon breeze. Discovering them reminded me that inspiring sights come in all sizes and are literally all around us. All we have to do is notice!

The tonal drawing, done in Burnt Sienna,
which helps me place things and establish
the pattern of light and dark

The first day, blocking in the basic colors

After allowing the paint to dry for several days
I returned to the panel to lay in the bright
aqua and green needle like leaves.

After letting this layer of paint dry I
spent another session on further detail and
 the shadows the leaves cast on one another
and the pods below - seen at the top of this post.