Philodendron, 12×9″, watercolor  on 140# HP paper 

If you are a philodendron, the Tropic of Capricorn is where you want to live, not in the upper latitudes clinging to life in an office planter, overwatered, underfed, starved for daylight.

Here the size and variety of this species is vast. Plants which are scrawny potted slips in the US are as big as a house in Brasil, co-habiting with even bigger plants as they climb, coil and wind skyward. Their closed pods are the size of a liter Thermos bottle. When the pod (blossom) opens it reveals a huge ivory anther. After fertilization the blossom closes. Why? I don’t know, yetI walk past this philodendron daily and always look to see what’s new.

Philodendron Pods

Philodendron Leaves and Pods

Goose Preening

Goose Preening, Campinas, Brasil, 12×9″, watercolor on Arches 140# CP

Tropical Depression

Tropical Depression, 20 x 14″, pastel in Arches 140# CP

Being American, being of a nature that celebrates variety and a se la vie attitude towards  most  matters, I must admit that I had a real sense of depression and loss with regard to the  US election  results. I’ve been painting this since the day of the election  and it took longer than most. I couldn’t find graphic resolution to it’s  design. Sorta like I can’t find emotional resolution to why the US electorate had such sorry candidates as presidential nominees.

But it’s done like this painting is done. God bless us all. It is what it is.

Edwardo’s Patio

Edwardo’s Patio, 12×9″, watercolor, 2016

Edwardo invited us to dinner last weekend. He has a highrise apartment in downtown Campinas, Brasil. The view’s great from the seventeenth floor and his deck is​ enormous and totally private. I was caught by the combination of geometry and airy openess and painted it in tribute to built spaces.

Downtown Campinas, SP, Brasil, looking northwest

7° North of the Tropic of Capricorn

We moved closer to the Equator last weekend, landing in Brasilia, 7° north of the Tropic of Capricorn. Ted had some business at the University of Brasilia. His colleagues, our friends, Adson and Diana, showed us  around several of the campuses spread far and wide throughout the city.

Brasil is going through political and monetary tough times. Unsurprisingly, the turmoil was evident throughout the city, particularly on campus. 

Sidewalk Graffiti, University of Brasil

This red, white and blue sidewalk painting shows the arm of the USA offering a bag of money to Brasil who in turn offers a barrel  of oil. These images overlay the great waterfalls of Brasil which turns to blood red as it flows into a sewer drain. Copies of dollars and Brasilian raeyes are glued to surface, pouring with the blood into the drain.

The truth of this matter lies between the Left and Right extremes portrayed in the painting. I was startled when I saw this  graffiti. In my book, this painting is good, honest art, nothing less. Salud to the artist.

Jardim Botanica

Jardim Botanica, 2016, 8 x 8″, watercolor on 140# CP paper 

Ted and I have toured a few major highlights in Brasilia proper the past few days, places honoring the founders of this latest Brazilian  state, monuments which commemorate, venerate  and relegate these men who once held power to eternal memory. Ashes to ashes and dust to dust.

The botanical garden, Jardim Botanica de Brasilia, on the  southwest side of the city provided perspective when compared to the hard built shapes of its Brazilian architect, Oscar Neimeyer. The concrete plazas of greateness are so very hot and thirsty, the garden is cool and quiet, life abounds. A docent, Melissa, student of entomology, explained that bees, her specialty, are threatened and under great environmental pressure due to human activities. She studies at the University of Brasilia.

Melissa, Etomologist

We have  met other students, mostly in fields of engineering . Ted gave a couple lectures at the U of BR, which is why we’re in this capital city. Ted teaches design.The gist of both lectures was that when searching for design solutions, identify the true nature of the problem before embarking. Interact with people who have different academic backgrounds  to achieve wider vision when designing. The students we met are at the end of undergrad studies and must decide what to do next, pretty scary, I recall.

    Jean Krueger Gallery of Original Fine Art

    Comanch Lake, Custer County, CO, USA

    Come and visit my Gallery!

    Bananas Ouro

    Bananas Ouro, 9×12″, watercolor on 140 # watercolor paper 

    Here is a tribute to the Gold Banana. It is less than 4″ long, it’s sweet  and nutty and irresistible . The last bunch looked like a spikey headdress when arranged just so, sculptural and all realistically abstract. I had to paint them. Now all that remains of the bunch is a sweet memory and this full-size painting.

    Sweet memories is what I paint and why I do it….they will be all that is left when I cease to remain .

    Tropical Sun and Shade

    Tropical  Sun and Shade, 140# h0t press watercolor paper

    A couple years ago when I decided to paint with watercolors I found a book by Tom Hoffaman, Watercolor Painting, 2012 I got a digital copy of it and refer to it frequently. Tom put out a post today about his upcoming teaching schedule for this and next year so I checked out his blog. Reading it led to the painting above.

    Tom is very clear-headed in his approach to painting, suggesting that all paintings initially be directed by identifying the value, wetness, composition and color of the topic at hand and then consciously proceeding with these attributes as guides for subsequent painting. He says to place each brushstroke with purpose. That advice has resonance with me. I did a lot of architectural drawing at one point in my zigzag career and remember I well that an architectural drawing has NO superfluous marks, that every line must mean something.

     Thinking on this, I did today’s painting and am pretty happy with it. Remaining mindful and attentive to each movement of the brush, how much paint and water to apply and keeping the total design in mind works way better than letting it rip in any ole direction.

    Daylight Saving Time in the Tropic of Capricorn 

    Tumbergia de Sara, 8×8″, watercolor on 140# hot press ppape

    The time changed overnight in Campinas, Brazil. Now it’s much hotter earlier in the day as the spring moves toward summer here.

    I painted a tumbergia, a very long and thick vine which has spread to shade the entire south patio of our apartment. Their flowers tend towards a purplish cobalt color in very, very light shades. Five petals circle a deep yellow-green center from which fine purple stripes emerge. They seem not to have much fragrence.

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    Humidity and the Tropic of Capricorn

    Humidity is often high along the imaginary circular line which is the Tropic of Capricorn . As I write it is  86% humidity  in Campinas, Brazil. In Phoenix,  AZ, where I was a week ago humidity is just 27%. Why should I notice or care about the difference?

    I notice and care because the paper I paint on, that being Fluid 300 140# hot press, behaves much differently between locations. Here in Campinas it retains water longer and seems to diffuse into smaller, finer capillaries. Also, the pigment stays workable longer because it dries slower. The paper feels a bit moist to the touch even when ‘dry’ and this makes the colors appear brighter than in, say, Arizona, USA. Perhaps the paint will dry and lighten when back in the US but for now I’m thrilled with the look of higher humidity.

    As for the more visible capillary diffusion, that effect will remain in drier climates, I think. I like the delicacy of it. Here are two examples of the difference in pigment diffusion as well as yesterday’s painting, a study of a conifer branch and cone of a variety I’ve never seen before.

    Diffusion of pigment at low humidity

    Diffusion of pigment at high humidity

    Conifer,  8 x 8″, 140# hot press watercolor paper

    The Tropic of Capricorn is on the move

    Most folks probably know this already but the Tropic of Capricorn (TofC) moves about 15 meters north every blessed year, just when I’d started to think some things are constant.  This fact has something to do with earth’s tilt as it orbits the sun…it’s really far beyond my reckoning.

    These seeds and pods were on the ground close to the yet unknown (by me) tree from which they fell. I want to identify the tree and paint more info w/re to it. I like the wavey visual movement of the pods and the seeds are too tidy to be true.


    Seeds and Pods, 12×9″, watercolor on 140# HP watercolor paper


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