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Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Primal Energy

I decided to take a quasi-break from flowers (though not truly...I still painted them while I was painting this different piece) and get back to my animal/wildlife roots.

About a month ago I did a quadtych art card set entitled "African Wildlife." Another artist mentioned that before seeing the size of the piece (each of the four paintings was 5" x 7") he thought that it was larger, or at least wanted to be. I had that impression as well, so I developed my triptych Savannah
around the image of the mother elephant and her calf hurrying back to her side. I used the colors of the art cards as a base for the abstract background to create a sense of the African savannah--it's energy, wildness, and yes, peacefulness. Various waterfowl (not necessarily a true to size ratio!) added the tranquility to the scene I needed, which helps to balance the energy of the elephant calf panel. Each primary figure in the end panels (the heron in flight in Panel 1 and the baby elephant in Panel 3) are moving towards the middle panel which helps to keep the viewer's eye in the image. All figures are drawn toward the central figure of the mother elephant, another symbol for Mother Earth.

The tree canopy created a particular challenge for me, as I was stuck here for some time trying to determine how to develop this area of the painting. It went through several changes until I settled on using mixed media. To do this, I cut sections of fine art paper with real bamboo leaf inclusions into large-ish palm leaves and glued them in place. The color was still too bright for the painting, so I applied a gentle orange wash to stain the leaves before adding cobalt teal for more depth and contrast. I then sealed the paper with a gloss gel medium.

I love the background of the first panel--its contrasts, textures, and translucency--all off-set by the crispness of the sillouettes of the water birds. I think I may very well explore this theme another time :o)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Blooms in Violet and Blue

Here are some more abstract acrylic florals to add to my art card "bouquet". Blooms In Violet is a mixed media piece, painted on 5" x 7" canvas board that is wrapped in fine art paper. This particular background is quite effective for these types of florals as it lends a quaint botan
ical charm to the image. Blooms In Violet was inspired by a wedding favors commission I am working on. Maybe that is why it seems to have somewhat of an "air of
about it. Blooms In Blue explores my love of blue. Perhaps the casual feel of this piece developed from my associations between blue and relaxation...and maybe my love of blue jeans!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


At long last I finished my biggest triptych thus far. Burst is a celebratory piece, a tribute to the energy and botanical explosion of pure and simple beauty that is springtime. I have to admit that it took several weeks to complete, and not just because I have been working on several pieces at once. The technique I use to form each flower allows for the creation of only several at a time--each flower must dry first before others are created nearby. This drying process takes around 24 hours, so you can imagine with a painting this size how much time was involved!

Burst is 20" x 44"--HUGE--and the thing about multiple canvas pieces is that each canvas may be hung closer together or farther apart, depending upon your spacial needs. It also makes it much more cost effective to ship, as I can send a fairly large work without having to charge freight.