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'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, February 10, 2017

Coyote Prowls

I had a clear idea about the coyote being backlit and outlined by a halo of light. So I needed a dark background. No other planning for the background - which is not great WC technique. Trying to establish some glow in the under-painting

More negative painting for the vegetation, more darks for the rock wall. Creating depth and a visual path into the painting.

Some color for the main actor - needs to be subdued because he's only catching light from behind. So I'll go back in and darken him later

Darkened and unified his body mass and infused a warm glow on his chest - thrown back from the sunlit ground. Gave him pupils and eye liner.  He's come alive now!

'Coyote Prowls' watercolor 11in x14 in. Matted 16 x 20. 
 Available: $445.00 framed

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Advanced Watercolors with Linda Feltner at the ASDM

Last weekend I attended the Advanced  Watercolor class at the Art Institute of the Arizona Desert Museum. Linda Feltner, the teacher, is a friend with whom I share many interests besides painting.
Top left:  Linda's own demonstration pieces. It was interesting to see how she let the first washes suggest the direction each painting would take.
I'm not sure at all that I like my juicy colors here, and I wished the mountains would stay in a greater distance
For most of our exercises we used reference photos, but they were smartly chosen to keep us from copying them too closely: they were underexposed or strangely proportioned, but all of them had an area of interest that deserved to be developed or just posed interesting problems. Accordingly, the results produced by seven students, all of different backgrounds and skill levels, were refreshingly different from each other.

This creek with its origin in distant mountains reminded me of some Norwegian Tundra setting.
 I am no great landscape painter and the mood of the suggested photos was as far from our brilliant Arizona desert light and sculptural succulent vegetation as you can get. In addition, I challenged myself to use Linda's pallet with a dominance of earth tones. So I was way out of my comfort zone. The outcome was a little unpredictable but thought provoking. The best, as with any good teacher, was of course the critique session when the paintings were all lined up on the wall. 

Maybe inspired by our unusually wet spring, I had played around with cloud formations over the last weeks. So the concept that clouds are not just amorphous wisps but have body, edges and perspective was not altogether new to me. The sky part of this little painting was thrown together and critiqued in less than an hour and a half, but I liked doing it. At home I felt the urge to push it a little further towards a finished painting. The cowboy and dog just wanted to ride into it, but seemed a little too cliche - so I did them on my computer - a brush full of pixels and a new file, but the original painting is still untouched and unspoiled and open to all kinds of other solutions

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

I always loved Ravens

 Twice, as a child and young adult in Germany, I was lucky enough to become the keeper of a tame Jackdaw, which is the smallest of the black European corvids. Each was a  free flying companion for many years. Their intelligence and curiosity got them into many comical or even dangerous adventures - hiking or biking with Jackdaw never got boring.

Hooded Crows in Trondheim
 When I lived in Trondheim, Norway, Crows became my favorites. Resident researchers soon invited me to  climb huge pine trees to get to the nests of rooks to get blood samples of the nestlings - I did not particularly like that idea. But I could watch for hours the behavior of those stately Hooded Crows that stood up to the biggest, loudest Hering Gulls with dignity.

Morning has Broken
 Their large cosmopolitan relative, the Common Raven, is even more intelligent and impressive. I love watching our resident pair when they let  the vortex of thunderhead cloud carry them up into the sky, only to swoop down with breathtaking speed and start it all over again.

Original Watercolor, matted 11in by 14in  $295. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Arizona Winter Colors

Winter scenes in hot colors. That's what living in Arizona does to my style. But I always loved the German Expressionists. I wonder what Emil Nolde would have painted if he had lived here? 

Original 11in by 14 in double mat $295

Prints will be available after the original is sold or by request. All sizes.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Moths of Arizona

Just before the Holidays I produced another photo collage of Arizona Insects, bringing the number of available posters to four.

This time I chose another huge group - Moths.  We have thousands of species here in Arizona. They are so attractive that collectors come from all over the world. I see is no ethical problem with collecting. Insects, like many other animals, may be declining in numbers, but not through collection, but through the loss of habitat climate change.  Collectors can actually help us to know more about insects and thus are invaluable to conservation efforts. We can only effectively protect what we understand.

Template and corresponding species key come with the poster
My moth poster is supposed to raise awareness on a very basic level: I selected large, colorful species to show that moths are just as beautiful as butterflies, a group that so far has a much greater appeal to the general public. So I left out the rare ones and the micro moths (which are so intricately pretty that they deserve a poster of their own) and went for bold patterned Northern flags, huge Black Witches and soft, slow-flapping Silk moths.  It worked, the poster was a hit from the release.

The size is again 18 in by 24 inches, on semi gloss heavy paper.  They are high quality: printed on my own 12 color Giclee printer.  The result is pretty spectacular. Each poster costs $25 plus $8 for shipping in the continental US (6.1% tax, AZ only). The other 3 can also still be ordered.
For a limited time, all 4 together will be discounted to $90 plus $10 for shipping and 6.1% tax in Arizona 

To achieve a more elegant, less poster-like look, the prints are also available without the text.

Friday, January 29, 2016

A series of Cranes to begin the year

'Harmony'  Watercolor 15 in by 21 in $ 650, framed 24 in by 30 in $ 750
This year I had a show in early January and no time yet to see the wintering cranes around Willcox Playa and Whitewater Draw close to Tombstone.

Watercolor 11 in by 15 in $ 375, framed 16 in by20 in $ 450
 I refreshed my memories by looking through slides and photos from previous years. The result are my first watercolors of 2016

Watercolor 11 in by 15 in $ 375, framed 16 in by20 in $ 450
Cranes taking flight into the morning sun. The spray of drops and the edges of the birds' wings catch the light. Otherwise the birds are blue shadows against the warm colors of the reflections on the shallow water that hardly covers fields of old cornstalks.

Watercolor 11 in by 15 in $ 375, framed 16 in by20 in $ 450
In the evening, a pair of Sandhill Cranes against a hillside rich with the jewel tones of sunset and deep blue shadows.

Prints and Originals are available.For print prices please see this page

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A simple design that received much attention

Cranes often retire for the night to swampy, flooded areas where they are save from predators. So at dusk and dawn bird watchers are treated to silhouettes of the graceful birds against the pinks and oranges of the rising or setting sun above the mirror calm water. Photographers know where they can expect the best light and line up early, often when it's icy cold.

I used one of these photographs for reference. But I regrouped the birds and tried to achieve depth by pushing one group into the back ground. I also gave the background the deeper, warmer colors that I remembered but that the camera did not capture.  Mostly I payed attention to the rhythm of graceful curves of necks and cascading feathers.

Cranes III 'Waking up' Watercolor, matted !6 in by 20 in  $395.
The resulting painting was quite simple, but it got amazing responses on Facebook, from both my birding community and my watercolor network.  Sometimes less is more.