Sunday, March 23, 2008

Joshua Tree Nat'l Park 2

It may take a while to finish the posts from Joshua Tree National Park. I don't know why I am so unmotivated to post on my poor, neglected blog lately. Forgive me?

So this will be the plants, trees, and cactus post from the Park. The Joshua Trees in the park are gargantuan! I am sure they used to be this big outside the park at one time. I think quite a large number of the bigger trees in this area were chopped down for fuel. I will never get tired of these trees. I am particularly fond of the trees with the rock formations as a backdrop. You can click on the photos for a larger view. I had so many photos to include, that I didn't want to make them too big.

Sally and I drove to the cholla cactus garden. These are all Teddy Bear Cholla, or opuntia bigelovii, which are a little different from the cholla that grows near our house. The cholla near our house are probably silver cholla (opuntia echinocarpa). The Teddy bear cholla looked like they are getting ready to bloom, and I hope I can go back to the park to see that! I have never seen a blooming cholla before. This close up shows the old fruit and the new buds. If you want to read more about cholla varieties, I got my information from this link here.

We also drove to where the ocotillo patch is. These were some of the biggest ocotillo I have ever seen! Awesome. I took a photo with Sally standing next to one, for scale. They look really green, since we had some good rain over the winter. I think they are also getting ready to bloom. I am hoping to drag my husband to the park sometime soon, so he can see how awesome it is.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Joshua Tree National Park

A dear friend and fellow artist from Colorado came to visit me last week. I find it interesting how it takes a visitor from out of town to get me to see the sights that I live right next to!! Does anyone else experience this? Poor Sally, who arrived on Wednesday night, when I was so sick. She took good care of me, and I was well enough (or in denial enough) to accompany her into Joshua Tree National Park on Saturday. It is a beautiful park! I decided to group the photos I took Saturday into separate blog posts, because there were many things to see.

This first post will be about rock formations. The rocks in the park are incredibly cool, and I found what fascinated me the most were the negative shapes between the rocks. That blue sky isn't bad, either.

It was a little windy, and fairly cold on Saturday, but we managed to have fun and see quite a lot. We were in the park all day. Stay tuned for the next few installments of photos.

My friend Sally Mather is a talented plein aire painter, and you can see her work here. In case you are unfamiliar with the term "plein aire", it means Sally paints out of doors. I used to sell her art in my gallery in Colorado. So beautiful.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

More desert blooms

I am beginning to feel almost like myself again, and I am grateful to be able to type that. Hopefully, as my strength returns, so will my desire to write more for my blog!
I hope to make up for my lack of posts with dazzling photos of wildflowers. I will also post a painting or two.

The flowers I have been loving lately are blue clumps of the desert bell. They are the most divine blue color, and it amazes me how many of them seem to grow right out of the rocks!

I have also been taking photos of the fading Joshua Tree blossoms. They do not seem to open in the shape of a star, even though many of you have told me that is what they are supposed to do. The edges of the flower stay curled, and some of them drop before anything else happens. Some of them do have the beginnings of what looks to be seed pods, although they are quite green. Go figure. I will continue to watch and photograph, and we shall see if anything else appears.

Here is a painting, as promised. Lee had asked me how many layers of paint I have put on these paintings. The answer is, it varies. I would say between two and six. This one has a layer of acrylic medium, applied heavily with a palette knife, a layer or two of acrylic paint, applied in washes. And then a final layer of oil paint, applied with a brayer. So I am actually rolling the oil paint on, rather than brushing it. With this painting, I also used Q-tips and the edge of my palette knife to remove areas of the oil paint, so you can see the acrylic underpainting. I like the direction this painting is taking me in, and I intend to continue to explore this. This painting measures 25 x 25 x 2.5". It is called "Terra".

Monday, March 17, 2008

Think green

I can't believe it's been over a week since I posted on my blog!!! I must apologize. I have been sick with a terrible head cold, and it caused me to pretty much shut down any extraneaous endeavors. I am on the road to recovery now, so I better make up for lost time!

This will be a quick post, because my dinner is ready.
Here is a painting from the recent batch. It is 12 x 12 x 2.5", oil on canvas. It's called the flower with no petals, or the bald flower, or something like that. I think it's cute.

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Spring Forward

We woke up this morning and realized we forgot about spring forward. Ooops.

I am a little tired today, and not because I didn't get enough sleep. I think I am still fighting off that cold. Either that, or I am fighting off a whole new cold. Either way. I am not sick. I haven't been sick yet. I am not going to get sick. I am just saying I am tired. (and a little grumpy, obviously.) Kay? Kay.

Pono and I discovered a Joshua Tree that had a ton of flower clusters on it the other day. So here is a photo of it, but you can't see them all. Magnificent! I am so enjoying these.

Oh, and I also found a crinkly cactus near our house that is about to bloom. Matthias says it is a beavertail, but I really don't know what kind it is. I can't wait to see the blossoms! This is so exciting!

Here is a new painting. Another one. I don't seem to be much in the mood to write. This is 25 x 25 x 2.5", oil on canvas. I am still arguing with myself about the title.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Not much news. Instead, how about another painting? I am still thinking about this one. I haven't decided if it's done or not yet. Maybe it is. Maybe not. It is oil and acrylic medium on canvas, measuring 24 x 24 x 2.5".

I will write again when I actually I have something to say.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

An error

Matthias has informed me that he thinks the photos I've been posting of "Joshua Tree Buds" are actually "Joshua Tree Blooms"!!! He says that the individual bracts don't actually open up. (which is what I was thinking happened.) I don't know!!! How am I supposed to know? I have never lived here before, and it's not like anyone in South Dakota (where I grew up) ever taught a class about "the life cycle of a Joshua Tree". Ya know? So, my darling, beloved readers, please don't be angry with me. I was not trying to lead you on, or deceive you into thinking there was some grand finale of the Joshua Tree blossom. Nothing like that. Deep down, I am still hoping that the individual bracts will actually open, and then I will have my envisioned reality. However, I feel that it is important that I keep that to myself, and tell all of you that this is "as good as it gets". So you won't hunt me down and destroy me for disappointing you. Not that I think you would ever do that, but I hate to let people down. Forgive me?

To hopefully console you, I have painted another painting, just for you. And I have walked all over the desert, taking more photos of Joshua Tree, whatever-they-ares. And more wildflowers. This white one, I am pretty sure, is Desert Chicory.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Wildflowers and a new painting

Wildflowers are appearing in the desert. On our walk/run with the dog yesterday morning, I spotted the Dwight's Deer Vetch. A clump of wonderful yellow flowers on long, delicate stems. They turn red with age. Here are some close ups. I am pretty sure I have identified these correctly, even if Matthias doesn't believe me. I used my National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers. When I first caught a glimpse of these flowers, I was so excited!

I have been in the studio most of the weekend. I am pleased with several of the paintings completed today. Here is a photo of one of them. It is 12 x 12 x 2.5", oil on canvas. The red is more of a brown red, but I am having trouble making the color look just right. These paintings will just always be better in person. !!! no matter how good I get at Photoshop, a camera just doesn't quite capture it.

I thought of the last person to tag for my seven things. It is Jenny, from Dancing Elephant Studio. I think she is in Hawaii right now, but when you get back, Jenny, please tell us seven things. Favorite possessions, books, quotes, whatever. Kay? Kay. Thanks.