February Ocatillo

The setting for this painting is of the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. The time of year is winter. I hike a lot when I’m here and was surprised when I saw the Ocatillo I’ve featured in this painting. The cactus was all leafed out and bushy which I don’t remember happening at this elevation tilContinue reading “February Ocatillo”

Ford Canyon Arabesque

This painting is of a wondrous scene I encountered while hiking. I was taken by the arabesque forms of cactus and earth. I’ve included a shot the initial layout of of the painting which I used as a guide for the painting’s progression. I’m pleased with this painting and I hope you’ll enjoy it, too.

Ford Canyon Trail, Maricopa County, AZ

I’m hiking as much as I can while I spend a few weeks of winter in Arizona. Each hike I determine to see at least one wondrous sight. Sometimes I see the rare desert pool of water, sometimes I see a herd of deer, perhaps a lizard or an early blooming of cactus. Most frequentlyContinue reading “Ford Canyon Trail, Maricopa County, AZ”

San Pedro Cactus 2

The San Pedro Cactus is a gorgeous plant. They grow tall and wide and have straight regular columns or can be quite gnarly and contorted, depending on the growing environment and genetic mutations. The one I’ve painted is of the gnarly type. It grows at altitudes of 2-3,000 ft and is a known hallucinogen. What’sContinue reading “San Pedro Cactus 2”

Jojoba and Ferocactus

While in Arizona I try to hike every day. The temperature is still below 70 degrees F. during the day, perfect for walking. I walk in one of the Maricopa County Regional Parks, a wild and varied landscape with lots of rocks, animals and plants. I’m always looking for my next painting when I’m there.

Eastern Bracken Fern

The Eastern Bracken Fern is found in the Adirondacks of New York State. It’s a deciduous rhizome that appears in spring, lives and spreads in the summer, looses its fronds in the fall, winters underground and then starts it all again when the earth thaws. This painting shows the fern in early spring.

Water Plants

I painted a masonite board with QOR watercolor ground which allows me to paint on a surface that, untreated, will not absorb the watercolor pigments. After an under painting of watercolor, I filled in shading and detail with casein, a more durable water media.  Usually I use 140 or 300# watercolor paper. Comparing the hardboard groundContinue reading “Water Plants”

Buckthorn Cholla

The Buckthorn Cactus, botanically known as Cylindropuntia acanthocarpia, is a native of the Sonoran Desert. It’s flowers are yellow or red with shades in between that bloom in spring. The cane-like stalks are covered with thorns and grow in tangled clumps in dry, arid landscape. The flowers are quite showy and bees love ’em.