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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

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Glorious Cactus Bloom

A rainy winter gave us annual wildflowers in many parts of the desert. It also made the cactus blossoms larger, brighter, longer-lasting ... just immensely paintable. 
I needed new original paintings for the upcoming Phippen Show in Prescott. So after finishing some commissioned landscapes, I went into the backyard, to our Cholla patch, for inspiration. 

Blossoms and Spines, watercolor 15 in x 21 in, framed 24 in x 30 in

Here is another one, this time in steps. I paint slowly. A painting takes several days. Washes need to dry completely before another layer can follow. I also often need to give it a break to come back with a fresh approach. When nearly done, I photograph and manipulate the photo. Changes I like I apply to the painting itself.

And a larger view of the finished piece - some painters say it's difficult to be sure when to stop. I do not have that problem. I know when I'm done and mat and frame as soon as the moisture is evaporated.

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