Milkweed Melody, 27H x 33W inches framed Oil Pastels on 140 lb cold pressed premium watercolor paper
Partnering with poet Christina Smith and her poem, Earth’s Love Song Milkweed Melody is showing April 1st – 30th at the VAST (Visual Arts Society of Texas) and Denton Poets Assembly collaborative event, Merging Visions Exhibition, with art and poetry at both the Emily Fowler and North Branch Libraries, Denton, Texas. Opening Receptions Saturday, April 17th 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. at Emily Fowler and 1 – 3 p.m. at North Branch
The Fourth of July 02 - Orange Milkweed, Kentucky (sold) 15 x 22 inches watercolors Above: finished, below: Nov. 19th almost finished
Driving from Texas to Ontario one summer I had to pull over to take photos and a closer study of the vivid orange bouquets growing beside the highway in southern Kentucky. The colors are irresistible, and this is not the first or last time I’ll portray this subject. All plants and trees contain medicinal and useful chemical properties in their leaves, stems, roots and flowers. I looked up Orange Milkweed in the most informative books about plants, The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Herbalism edited by Malcom Stuart, which contains details about every plant I have ever sought to find information for. According to it, Appalachian Indians made a tea from the leaves to use during religious ceremonies. One common name for this plant is Pleuracy Root, as it is still useful to treat infections of the respiratory tract including pleurisy It is used as a diaphoretic, antispasmodic, carminative, expectorant… Whatever! Color also has enchanting, supernatural energizing properties!
The Fourth of July, 36 x 48 x 2 inches, Acrylics on wrapped canvas $2,200.00
The Oxide Gallery in Denton had an open call today for Artists to bring in three paintings that best represented current work, to be judged for upcoming space openings. Even though I didn’t think The Fourth of July was finished, I brought it in because it has the cheerful colors and bold marks that I’d like to start injecting more into future work. Usually there are lots of colors used, but they get layered over each other on the canvas and become muted. The gallery owners informed me that it is finished! OK, great, I’ll take their advice…I’m quite happy to move on to another painting and decide at a later date if this is truly finished.
Especially toward the final stages when so much time and study has been invested, we can be so involved in the work we don’t see it with a fresh perspective the way others do. Other people’s eyes and opinions are so valuable.
Oh, and my apologies to whoever posted a comment that never got published. In my haste to delete 24 spams I was too quick with the click. In that split second I noticed that it was not a spam, but it was too late. I don’t even know which post the was comment was on, so whoever it was, please try again – I appreciate all feedback, negative or positive..it’s always helpful.
The Fourth of July past the point of no return; making one small change affects the whole piece. Rather than post another image of the painting as a whole, because there are already enough pictures of it, here are some details of changes made in the past few days from the lower central portion of the painting. The colors are slightly more intense in these photos. to be continued…
The Fourth of July, central detail of 36 x 48 x 2 inches Acrylics on wrapped canvas
Sept 26: Yesterday as I added a few final brushstrokes a blue streak showed up unintentionally from some color left in the center of the brush. It was one of those rare details that happen accidentally to change the course of the entire painting. There are similar angular strokes that were starting to build up from color washes, but that tiny spark of blue brought all the others to attention, so today I added a few more in different colors. It was exactly what I was searching for. It is now indeed The Fourth Of July. Over the course of time I may see areas where more tiny streaks need to be added to balance out the composition, but it’s otherwise finished.
Sept 28: Alright, maybe it isn’t finished after all, but this is the stage where the painter needs to step back, set it aside and start another. Finishing a painting is like a drive through the mountains; you see the enormous mountain before you…seems that you’re so close but because they are so large, as you watch the mountain the illusion is that you are not getting closer. It seems to take forever to reach it, as if you’re on a tread mill.
Finishing is the stage where every single tiny mark makes a difference. You’ll want to rush and make the call, but those final marks can make or break your painting. I was so excited about the sparks of color last night — interesting how you can’t see the field for the flowers if you’re working up close to the canvas too long!
This morning after a bit of study I’m thinking maybe the buds, central foreground, are too defined. I also see too much division over-all, and there’s not as much flow as is possible. I played with some possibilities digitally, right thumbnail.Here is where I will use any feedback and criticism anyone has. Extra eyes are really helpful at this point, so fire away if you have any suggestions!
The Fourth of July In progress, 36 x 48 x 2 inches Acrylics on wrapped canvas, custom built stretcher frame.
June 22, 23, Sept 23, 24: Adding mid-tones. The addition of a blue-white haze gel wash lightens areas that need to be rebuilt with brighter colors; in attempts to create contrasts, many areas have become too dark. Paintings always swing back and forth from too light to too dark or too defined to not defined enough, and just like a pendulum eventually come to rest between the two. I hope to bring the painting back toward the energy and explosive colors that it had after only one hour of work. Only the foreground flowers will have some detail; the rest will remain impressionistic in style.
Added darkest values, mapping out the composition more clearly, now will define a few blossoms in the foreground by washing off dark areas and paint with pure colors from the tube and bring back to the cheery lights and brights that were present at the start.
The Fourth of July 01, 36H x 48W x 2D inches Acrylics on wrapped canvas, highest quality custom built stretcher frame. Work in progress. Rarely do I draw outlines to start paintings. I just start splashing paint in a frenzy around the canvas, responding to the subject matter. Very little detail is planned for this painting, just the recognizable shape of growth habits and a few flowers just opening.
The Fourth of July - Click here to view the post and progress details of this preliminary Oil Pastel drawing. Not only does the Orange Milkweed remind me of fireworks, but it was on July 4th last year that I stopped to photograph the vibrant wildflowers growing alongside the highways in Kentucky.
The Fourth of July 03, Orange Milkweed – work in progress, preliminary drawing for a larger painting, 22 x 30 inches Oil pastels on watercolor paper, started yesterday. I haven’t used color for a while … a little terrifying, I’ve gotta be honest, but just jumped in and started scribbling.
These ultra-vibrant milkweed flowers were blooming beside the highway in Kentucky.
~ like fireworks in the ditches ~
Happy 4th! (1776 – 2007)