Thursday, July 30, 2009

WIP 2, or 3 or?

Okay, I did it again. While at the Art Club this afternoon I was painting away and listening (okay contributing) to the conversational thread going around the room, and neglected to take photos of what I was doing during the WIP phases of this painting. Here is what I arrived at home with...a painting deserving of marinating on the board for awhile. I like the atmospheric perspective of this, and achieved most of the color goals I had from my reference photo, but will still await more thinking on this one. These canyon painting require a bit more THINKING than others! If I concur about what needs to be changed, I will attack a full sheet with this painting scheme.

Be aware, be very aware!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Time For Another WIP

One of my top painting goals is to be able to paint the Grand Canyon as I see it. I have had this ref photo sitting and marinating in my mind since I took the photo last August when we drove to the Colorado River at the bottom of the canyon, from the west side of the canyon. The colors of this part of the canyon are wonderful and I hope to be able to capture that. This will be an 11x15 study, if I can learn enough from doing this study to do a credible job I will do it for real on a full sheet...gulp!

I just know that I am not getting any closer to realizing my goal by NOT trying to paint it so will dive in and see what happens. My approach to line drawings on watercolor paper is usually a very minimalist approach. I don't like the construction lines to show through the painting so I draw the drawing on the paper with a #2 lead pencil, soak the paper and then staple onto the Homosote board. After this is thoroughly dry, I use a kneaded eraser and erase much of the darkness of the lines. I took this photo before lightening the lines with the eraser. This is far more of a detailed drawing than I usually do, but when trying to paint these canyon walls faithfully I usually get very lost so will try from a more detailed approach this time. That seemed to work better when painting my Canyonlands painting two years ago.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Kokopelli With Staff

Those of you who follow my blog may recognize the reference photo for this painting from below. This is the Kokopelli with a staff that I hiked up to near Deming, NM. I took so many petroglyph photos at this site, but this is my fav...a wonderful, huge Kokopelli with a staff instead of a flute. I took this with my longest camera lens since by the time I found it, it was higher than I had the strength to climb to get closer, and I like the look of him on this pile of large boulders anyway from this angle.

I tried to incorporate some compositional tips to make this read well, such as having one big boulder and a dead tree branch pointing to the center of the photo and having the Kokopelli in a "sweet spot". It was so hot at the time we found him that I wanted that to show in these rocks, also.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Diana Webb and I met at my house this afternoon. It was such fun meeting with Diana and her husband, Jim. I met them through We discussed all of the important motorhome details, they looked at my art and I gave her the prints of the paintings I had painted from her worthy photos. It was such great fun to meet with fellow RVPics members, this is a great group!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

NM Petroglyphs

Before we left NM we visited this petroglyph site on a very hot day. It was an arduous and hot climb to find these but I felt it worth it as this collection was the best I have seen (and I have seen a lot of petroglyphs!). I think this one must be a drooping yucca, as the area was full of them. As they die, they look like this.

The Kokopelli glyph is the only one I have seen with a staff instead of a flute. Isn't he grand?

I believe one of these is of a tortoise, the most sophisticated glyph of one I have seen. The level of sophisticated detail at this site was unbelievable. Most of the time I cannot imagine what the figures are of, but sometimes the more sophisticated of them give a better clue. This is true of the Bighorn Sheep glyph.

It was a great, although taxing and tiring morning spent traipsing about in the ancient past. We also collected more rocks for the tumbler, this was a great place for that, too.

Now to return our home back to normal after unpacking the motorhome. We will have good memories of our week in Deming. The RV park where we stayed was the 81 Palms RV Park and it was, as always, a good home-away-from-home. The owners are always pleasant and they keep the park in very good condition. They are also knowledgeable about the area around Deming.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Still in Deming area

We visited the town of Columbus, NM yesterday and went to Pancho Villa State Park. Since I am so woefully lacking in historical retention of what happened when, I was surprised to learn this happened in 1916 and was a successful attack on this fort near the border with Mexico. The state park has a great museum with some of the historical vehicles and weaponry used when General Pershing led the counter raid into Mexico to find Pancho Villa. He never was found, but the border was once again safe.

Today we went to the desert to a place near Deming to find petroglyphs. Despite directions to find this place and knowing we were in the right place, we only found three petroglyphs. We decided to re-read the directions and plot our course by GPS readings and return tomorrow morning. Today's adventure was not a total disappointment in that we found many rocks to pick up and try to tumble and polish when home. We also saw this owl haunting the cliffs we were near. It sure kept an eye on us, must have had a nest somewhere near it was guarding. Owls can be so huge, this one was medium sized but large against those boulders.

Good weather and good times still here. We actually had some rain this afternoon, but nothing stormy. It does get hot but we are on the desert still so we expected that. More tomorrow, hopefully with photos of the petroglyphs we have been promised.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Las Cruces

Whenever we are passing through Las Cruces we always make a run to nearby Hatch, world famous for their chile peppers. We did so today on our short visit to Las Cruces and ate at our favorite Hatch Mexican restaurant, the Pepper Pot. Wonderful food! Anthony Bourdain did a recent show highlighting this restaurant, our son recognized it after we mentioned the Pepper Pot.

We also made a stop at my favorite bead store in Las Cruces, Western Traders. I find such interesting beads and findings at this store.

We are back in Deming this afternoon and will explore tomorrow some more.

Photography Safari

We spent yesterday morning at Rockhound State Park and kept looking at the ground for rocks that were interesting. This is a park where you area allowed to collect rocks and keep them. We found some jasper and rhyolite, and others that are just interesting, I have no idea what they are. We will fire up the tumbler when we return home. Here is my weapon of choice when on photo safari, with my new longer lens attached. So far, I am liking it really well.

The other photo is of a dumb photographer we saw who should have known better than to climb up on those rocks! Oh well, at least I had my walking stick for balance.

I'll do another entry for today's adventure....

Monday, July 06, 2009

Deming, NM

We are in Deming, NM for a few days. We plan on using this as our home base and scooting around nearby places and exploring more. Our first day we spent the morning exploring City of Rocks, a bizarre area of rocks resembling Bedrock of the Flintstones' fame. It is a state park and is halfway between Deming and Silver City.

These four photos are of that area. I was experimenting with my new 70-300 mm lens for my Olympus (early happy birthday from Tom!) and it was great to have. I was much farther away from these rocks than it appears in the photos.

When you see the bird in the yucca photo, I had seen this mama bird on the nest on our way past on this loop of the park and on our way out found it again and zoomed in close. I am not a birdwatcher so cannot identify her species but you can kind of see her chick to her lower right. Judging by her size and her beak, I am reminded of a small falcon I saw at Sonoran Desert Museum and it was identified as a falcon, so maybe it is one?

Friday, July 03, 2009

Windows to the Past

I promised myself I would finish this by the end of the week and I hope it is finished. I will have it critiqued by the WcW group and see what they think. I enjoyed doing this one, as I have all the paintings I have done from Roch's photos.