Edible Chestnuts and skull treasures
Southern Running Pine (Lycopodium digitatum) Evergreen
Trees on the pond. 9 x 12 Pastel on Pastelmat
We walked around the hidden pond on the Claytor Nature Study Center property Tuesday. The trees didn’t think about anything but the breeze, the leaves abandoning their branch hosts, birds cackling and the colors! Along the tight trail around the pond were these magical pine plants covering the ground (Southern Running Pine (Lycopodium digitatum) Evergreen) and sharp covered shells that stung when picked up. Edible Chestnuts! Those skulls were a gift from the Center when somebody dropped off a box of SKULLS! Treasure indeed.
Nature just keeps being. It doesn’t care about us people and our activities. Trees in the Muir Woods are between 600 and 800 years old. America hadn’t even been discovered in recorded history yet.
I didn’t care about people activities while painting on Tuesday. The fall colors were great and I painted like a child coloring with crayons. With abandon. This is in pastel 9 x 12 on Pastelmat.
The contrast is great for color and light
Painting trees upside…again, but in a reflection
Adding clouds and re-adding the light into the trees
Putting in some ripples from the bugs landing.
Blurring everything for the water aspect.
Then the light changed.
Adding the Lily Pads
The Lily Pads are in…still missing something. Will revisit.
The reflection pond called. The light from the clouds bounced off of the pond and the trees were admiring themselves. The lily pads were at the end of their glory, yet they wanted to be the focus. Isn’t this the process of creating? The steps to honing skills. Bringing color, light, and nature onto the paper. We shall see as they evolve. Monet. Where are you?
Painting upside down
My mind couldn’t put the perspective right, so I painted upside down
Final version of The Draw in Acrylic
Encaustic Gesso applied
First Attempt with rocks uniform
Final Version with rocks corrected.
This is a short story on how this painting got its’ name. It began in 1981. When photos were taken with film cameras.
While some people might think that New Mexico looks like a great big brown baked potato, I think otherwise. Colors in the rocks, the sunsets, and landscape. Magnificent.
The painting started out as “The Draw” based on Blackwater Draw in New Mexcio. It landed on the canvas in 2011 with a monochrome under painting of burnt umber. I started it upside down because the perspective was challenging me. This way my brain would only see shapes. Other colors were going to be added, but we moved. And moved again. I kind of liked it with the one color.
2015 – This painting wanted attention. Encaustic wax called to me. I brushed the wax over the top very lightly and only heated it enough to adhere the layers. The sand is silica from those little packets that come in pills. In writing on the very last layer is “New Mexico is a great big brown baked potato” in oil pastels. This piece flowed out of me and I enjoyed the process.
Alcohol Wash and vine charcoal drawing
Alcohol Wash of sky and vine charcoal drawing
The branches and back trees go in
The final version
Chinese maple close up
Well. This wasn’t the first time I ever painted outside, but it might have well been since it had been 30 plus years since my college days. It was the most satisfying and wonderful experience. The birds sang all day. The sun was shining through the trees. I was connecting with this Chinese Maple tree and its’ surroundings.
An interesting side note:
It’s funny, when you are an artist people say whatever comes to their mind. It’s as if you belong to them. They have no filter because of that. It’s as if you’re pregnant and everyone wants to touch your belly.
When other artists saw this tree, they said things like “I had no idea you could paint like that.” I’m on a journey and exploring encaustics on cigar boxes and painting night scenes with pastel. This is a good reminder not to judge others by what you see.
I painted this tree during the Paint Out Lynchburg in the Old City Cemetery this past May. I’ve been hooked ever since.
First Attempt Swirls
Swirls with objects
Beginning of Tadpoles
Texture of tadpoles
Texture of tadpoles
I drew and painted as a child all the time. I drew and painted in my art courses at college. Broadcasting got a hold of me and two or three television stations later and I stopped painting.
Twenty years later I picked up a brush again and didn’t know where to begin…again. The first attempt was to throw paint on the canvas making swirls and adding objects, it seemed so flat otherwise. The colors popped! It didn’t mean anything. It was happy, but just a bunch of doodles.
Gesso is an artists’ friend. Goodbye swirls, hello circles. Still…flat. Some of those circles looked like breasts with the objects in the middle.
As I am always photographing micro shots of critters, I posted these tadpoles stuck in a tide pool on Facebook and a friend inspired me with “You should paint them”. The colors were vibrate, the composition flowed. A 3′ by 5′ painting of tadpoles emerged. Right over all those swirls/circles. I experimented with pastels combined with gel medium. Acrylics. Overall, it was a satisfying experience. This is the journey.
Dandelion in Encaustic Wax
Dandelion side view
The Dandelion seeding
Cosmos side view
How the boxes start out with pastel
I love to take close up photos of flowers, mushrooms, and bugs. I translated some of these flowers onto the bottom of cigar boxes using encaustic wax. Encaustic medium is beeswax and resin. I heat up the beeswax and brush it onto the base. I also use a heat gun to fuse the layers and add pastels for the colors. My Flower Series is hanging at Magnolia Foods http://magnoliafoods.com/ until October 1.
I hope you like them as much as I enjoyed making them.
The beginning, no clouds.
The start of the “pile”
The infamous “pile”
Hello Mr. Face.
The finished product.
The Ugly, The Bad and The Good
Here is Week 11 of the Peaks. It was an interesting week. My inspiration had run dry. I decided to zoom in on Flat Top in my mind. It’s quite the evolution and this was the hardest to work through. The first one is as far as I got on location. The second one I added these ridges at home out of my memory. I felt lazy and did not want to add the clouds. I stepped back, squinted and called it good. I took the photo. Lo, and behold, it looked like a pile of stinky’ness left in the curb. Okay, Okay I say to the mountain, I’ll add your friends the clouds, while wiping away the “pile”. I put in shadows, purple and once again declared it done. I take a picture, email it to my painting partner and she sees a face in the middle of the mountain. I thought I was the only one who saw faces in things. ARgh.
The final one is faceless and doesn’t look like a pile.
Here we are at week 10 of studying the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was raining this day. We sat under the porch and I used watercolor pencils. I love the combination of pencil lines and looseness I can play with in using this medium. Pastels and rain do not mix. Talk about leaving the cake out in the rain. This was just fun to do. 11 x 14 watercolor pencil
This tree always seemed to be in the way of the moutain. I let it take center stage and it bowed.
Our Art Camp at the Claytor Nature Study Center
This was the ninth week of painting the Blue Ridge Mountains. Still painting from the same spot. The mountains decided to be in the background and I can feel them off in the distance. That tree asked to be the star from the beginning and I kept ignoring him. I think he’s had his day in the sun. Time for his bow. 11″ x 14″ Pastel on Sabretooth
The Peaks of Otter wanted to be purple
This was the eighth week of painting out doors. My children were visiting and we went to the D-Day Memorial and right during Eisenhower’s speech, a wasp flew up my skirt and bit me on each cheek. I could not sit on my allergic reactions. I was on the mend this day and still sore. Benadryl and Prednisone made for some tremulous dreaming! (Jimmy Buffet anyone?)
Everytime I paint at the Claytor Nature Center, I ask the mountains what they want to be painted. The Peaks of Otter were not giving up their secrets this day. I painted in the sun.When you paint in the sun, the painting will come out dark and those mountains were very dark. When I got home I experimented with purple and olive ochre. Not every painting is a home run I suppose. I will keep at it. 11″ x 14″ Pastel on Sabretooth