Contact

Contact me by email: mbrummermann@comcast.net or telephone 520-682-2837

'In any land what is there more glorious than sunlight! Even here in the desert where it falls fierce and hot like a rain of meteors, it is the one supreme beauty to which all things pay allegiance ... The chief glory of the desert is its broad blaze of omnipresent light.'
-John Van Dyke

Friday, June 15, 2018

Dragon and Damsel Flies in Watercolors

A little series of pretty insects that most people love. Dragon flies and their smaller relatives, the damsel flies. They turned out to be a rather challenging subject.

Great Spreadwing
Several challenges came up: One was to make the insects the main subject of even a small painting, I had to paint them larger than life. That means depicting a lot of intricate detail without getting fussy. The viewer needs suggestions, but as much detail as in a scientific illustration. Detail should be suggested, but eye and brain need the freedom to fill in the rest.

Flame Skimmer
If the main character forms only one big shape, the composition demands that the  background should add elements of interest, but should not overwhelm.  Be supportive and yet interesting enough.

Widow Skimmer
 Dragonfly wings need to read as transparent, yet structurally stiff and strong. Dragonflies are extremely fast, muscular fliers . The wings  often make rustling noises like hard, thin foil and have nothing in common with the softer wings of birds or bats. They are more like technical structures fit for an air plane. 
All that has to be expressed with a little pigment suspended in water and spread over paper. 

 I painted these three images with the idea of making them into tiles. The new sublimation technique allows to have radiant true colors on the shiny glazed surface of ceramic tiles. I tried it out with my cactus flower images and the success at the Phippen show was overwhelming. I think the subject matter of water and dragonflies gives itself even better to the technique. I am also considering prints on metal.  

Friday, June 1, 2018

A little Bug Painting

The Phippen Western Art Show and Sale is over, was a great sales success, and now I have no shows any more for the summer! I can finally switch from frantically building up print inventory to some more leisurely paintings (I hope). And get out and watch bugs.


As a warm up a little insect painting, one of the many Widow Skimmers of Patagonia Lake

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Roadrunners' coming of Age

Roadrunners are big, active birds. At times also very vocal, from a mechanical clicking sound that is repeated rapidly to a strange moaning sound that I could not attribute to any known bird or animal when I first heard it.

Young Roadrunner -note the short tail - chasing a lizard. This one easily escaped.
Roadrunners are THE caricature-characters of the desert Southwest. Together with the trickster coyote they are known to children around the world. And I must say, watching the real bird, with all its velociraptor fierceness, is much more interesting and even amusing than all those cartoons. Immediately after my arrival in the southwest, I experienced them as skilled, opportunistic predators who didn't refuse a juicy bug, grabbed tadpoles out of my aquarium, did not spare the occasional song bird, but also did not back off from a rattlesnake.

Photo by Doris Evans
This fierceness increases exponentially when a hungry brood is waiting. 
 My friend Doris Evans documented how even little chicks devoured whole lizards that the parents delivered to a nest in her yard. Compare that to the careful feeding of little bits of meat that mother hawk feeds her chicks! Doris was lucky to have the nest so close to her window that she missed no details of the nursery. Over the years I watched two nests in Sabino Canyon, but from a safe distance: What was going on there was surprisingly quiet and secretive. Here at home, we see and hear all the preliminaries for nesting and breeding, like the gift-giving from male to female and the haunting, moaning cries that seem to claim a territory, but then it gets eerily quiet: the Roadrunner parents are not betraying the location of their nest and vulnerable young-ones by a lot of obvious activity. The nests is out in the open, if concealed by a prickly cholla cactus, and roadrunner chicks are born featherless and blind, so it takes a while for them to reach fledgling status.


But when the chicks are finally out of the nest, they soon carry on with the  typical boldness of their species.  First they mostly follow their parents around to noisily demand their lunch, but soon they begin to bother everything that's smaller than they and check it out for prey-value. They explore every place that could hide any morsels, including the inside of my parked car and my friends computer desk. I have seen them watch the tail of my cat with the worst of intentions, and a friend who was hunting bugs for scientific, not culinary reasons, found them following him around, hoping for a hand-out?  The ones in Sabino Canyon seem to quickly learn the schedule of the tram. I saw bits of hamburger tossed to them, which is of course absolutely wrong. Don't do it.

So my latest painting is about the hunger of the dragon brood. It sold as soon as I put it up on Facebook.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Startling Encounter: Young Gray Fox and Tarantula


Young Gray Fox exploring. I watched him when I was camped at Madera Canyon - in the morning he went about his business quite unconcerned, doing his toilet, from stretching, yawning, scratching and preening to well, everything... but he was petrified when the Tarantula walked by. To pounce or not to pounce?

 I know that Gray Foxes occur in the open desert, but I imagine that they appreciate some cool canyons and lusher vegetation more. So I gave that to my guy when I tried to make the light source more obvious and enhance the contrast to give the painting more interest. Did it work? 

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Large canvas prints for the Tubac Show Feb. 7 to 11

I made 2 big canvas prints for the Tubac show. They are 
24in x 34in. At the show, they will be available for $350. 

 They look very nice on our own wall. So maybe I'll just keep them? It involves some work to make more as I even made the stretcher frames from Homedepot wood

Saturday, January 27, 2018

New Items for the Tubac Fair


I just picked up tiles and coffee mugs with some of my images. The tiles are 8 in by 10 in, rather big. They can be grouted. Different sizes can be ordered.


The mugs are also good sized, they can take the content of a soda can. The colors came out very well ( I just took this quick photo in the living room where the light is not very natural) and the detail is great.
The process is called sublimation.  It requires special "ink".  It is really super-finely ground pigment sprayed on a special prepared paper.  It requires 400° heat applied under pressure. The image is incorporated into the glazed surface, not just sitting on top. So the surface is smooth and shiny and the cups can be washed in the dishwasher. Now I have to find out how they'll sell! The Tubac show is coming up on the 7th of February - that'll be the test!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Art Show at La Encantada Next Weekend

Backyard Marauders: Javelinas
Saturday and Sunday in the courtyard of La Encantada on Campbell and Sunrise. See my newest painting 'Javelina Visit' and many other original watercolors and prints



Our backyard gets visitors periodically, even though it's fenced as a dog run. They (the Javelinas) systematically uproot dozens of mamillaria cacti and eat the roots. So we pick up the buds and put them into sand-filled pots to reroot, then plant them for the next invasion. To get at least something out of it, I made the whole party pose for a painting.