New Gallery on Website

Hi Folks,

Just a little post to let you know I uploaded works from my latest show, “Sleeping in the Forest, Waking in the Desert” into a new page on my website. Go see them all together here.
Cheers!

photo of paintings in oil and watercolour
Sleeping in the Forest, Waking in the Desert screen shot

Snowy desert

In the past three days I’ve driven over 12 hours in the desert. I went west to Albuquerque over the weekend and to Lubbock, Texas and back today. Some say the drive is dull, “in the middle of nowhere…” but I have to remind myself I’m driving, to look straight ahead now and then, and not let my eyes wander so long in my surroundings. It is exhaustingly full to me, so much sunlight where nothing can hide behind anything. I love it here.

It is fitting that I painted a landscape this afternoon. The snowy desert.  It was inspired by my adventures this week, driving through snowstorms, only to be in a t-shirt two days later… It is a sibling painting to an oil I made last year (on left) and I thought you might like to see them together.

photo of two oil paintings landscapes of new mexico
Snow over Santa Fe part one and two

Girls raised by wolves eh?

Today’s art attack was inspired by reading the beginning chapter of St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell – author of Swamplandia.

Here is an excerpt:
“…with mosquito-blackened sills; a tin roof that hums with the memory of rain. I love it here. Whenever the wind gusts in off the river, the sky rains leaves and feathers. During mating season, the bedroom window rattles with the ardor of birds.
Now the thunder makes the window glass ripple like wax paper. Summer rain is still the most comforting sound that I know… In the distance, an alligator bellows…”

arial photo of art desk
In the studio
mixed media drawing of cabin in jungle
Deep in the Forest, mixed media, 10 x 11"

Loving weather

This was one of the last paintings I completed for my show. I began it over a month ago when Portales experienced a nice storm – anyone who lives here will understand what a great thing this is. Rain!!! I get very excited when it rains and especially enjoy thunderstorms, dark skies and the swallows that take shelter in my covered porch with me.

I felt the air pressure change and set up my supplies on the porch and painted quickly as I watched it move towards me across the fields. The swallows didn’t make a peep but watched intently and I took that as a compliment. Storms seem to blow over quickly here, so I knew I had to work fast. The result of such a quick painting session didn’t impress me all that much, so I set the canvas aside. After that storm passed and we were left in bleaching sunlight for another month I just couldn’t bring myself to continue work on it.

Finally, last week we had another rainy day and I was inspired to finish it up, just before my show went up. So… er, yes, it’s hanging wet in the gallery… shhh!

oil painting of a storm
The storm behind the fence, oil on canvas, 12 x 24"

 

Somewhere to read

My librarian mother recently noted that I draw and paint many stacks of books in my scenes. And this is very true. Reading is one of my life’s biggest obsessions after art… and maybe food. I really love food. Art can be an escape for me, and so can books… so why not bring the two together as much as possible and enjoy a double dose of what I love most?

While today’s piece of art does not contain any heaps of paperbacks, I’d like you to imagine reading there. I’ve drawn the same bench in a tangly shaded space and a sun-soaked desert space. If you choose to read in the jungle space be sure to take bug repellant and if you chose to read in the sun, remember sunscreen and shades! Nothing worse than being blinded by trying to read the glaring white page.

watercolour and ink drawing of bench in vegetation
The Bench, watercolour and ink on paper, 5 x 10"

A big project

There has been a painting germinating in my mind for a few weeks now that I finally began to tackle. Here are some examples of my thought process as I try to solidify my idea and my composition. If I’m lucky I can finish the painting tomorrow and post it. The canvas is 24 x 48 inches and will be the largest work in my upcoming October show. (For more details about that stay tuned!)

sketchbook thumbnails of landscape painting
idea development for large landscape, sketchbook
sketchbook thumbnails of large landscape painting
more thumbnails, sketchbook

A change in temperature

I thought it was time to post a drawing of winter… this was drawn/painted from a picture I took this winter. What is happening under all the snow? It’s a gorgeous world of faded autumn colours and rotting vegetation and cool shadows. A nice contrast to the heat waves of summer so many of us are experiencing.

watercolour drawing of vegetation
In Winter, watercolour on paper, 11 x 14"

On my rustic outdoors theme… a little reptile viewing

This week while at Oasis State Park climbing a sandy slope to look for a nice place to paint I stumbled upon a snake. Not at all unusual, but the largest I’ve seen in the wild in New Mexico.

I was walking under a tree when I noticed some very slight movement above my head. I looked up to find a tan/gray shape coiled in the crook of the tree. I paused for a moment and saw that it was on the move down the tree three feet to my left. Obviously I retreated to the car where I continued to watch. Snakey (I named him/her) then investigated the area where I was standing and headed for the car. Unfortunately my nature viewing ended soon afterwards because I had clearly disturbed Snakey and he or she was now moving intently towards me. I didn’t want to let Snakey get so close to the car that I might run them over, nor did I want to stick my head out the open windows to check his/her progress… so I drove away.

I parked the car at a safe distance and walked to a shaded picnic bench where I painted for a few hours (see post “Oasis” which shows another canvas from this day). In this painting, the tree on the right is the one I saw Snakey in.

oil painting of desert landscape
Where I saw the Snake, oil on canvas, 8 x 10"

I described my snake spotting (in great detail) to some park employees and they helped me identify it as a Coachwhip.

Some neat things I learned about Coachwhips: They are often active in hot conditions when other snakes seek shelter in cool retreats. They spend most of their time on the ground but are capable climbers so are occasionally encountered in trees and on cacti. They are slender bodied snakes relative to their length and are extremely fast (believed to be the fastest in North America). If they are cornered, coachwhips will strike repeatedly (often at their attackers face) and bite strongly if given the opportunity (they can raise the first third of their bodies to reach what they want to bite). Though they are aggressive in defense, these snakes will not chase a person down and “whip them to death” as a common legend suggests. Phew.

So, this is just my shoddy internet research (Online Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Arizona among one of my sources) and I could be wrong in attributing some characteristics to Snakey when there are seven subspecies of coachwhips widely distributed across the southern US. But I got carried away with the fun factor of writing about snakes… I hope you forgive me.