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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, 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.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Cranes Taking Flight

Cranes II Taking Flight, matted 16 in x 20 in, original available, $395
Staying with the theme of last week, here is my second painting of 2016. Again, the Sandhill Cranes of Whitewater Draw in Arizona were the models, but the water reflecting the morning light is the real challenge here.

 Step by step, this watercolor was developed from light to dark and liquid frisket was applied to allow the washes to flow as undisturbed as possible. When the mask was removed lights in the background were overpainted to push them back. I then used a wet brush to lift some of the darks from the water in the middle ground and to soften some edges.

The original, and also prints in all sizes are available

Monday, January 4, 2016

First new watercolor of 2016: Flying Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes at Whitewater Draw. original matted 16 in by 20 in, $345, available

When the setting winter sun turns the hill sides orange-red, the shadows appear in an amazing, cool turquoise blue. The shadows on the gray cranes appear a rich cobalt. I love playing with those complimentary contrasts. 

The original and prints in all sizes are available

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Happy 2016 and a new insect poster

This is number three of my Arthropods of Arizona Collection - and I have some more ideas based on the photos in my sock drawer. For these posters I use photos that I have taken over the last ten years. All are of living insects - if possible I photographed them on white background, but some are also liberated from very colorful natural backdrops. Some legs and antennae needed to be rearranged or even graphically replaced...

On this poster 28 families (29 if you count Phymatidae) are represented by 73 identified species. A black and white template and the species list organized in taxonomic groupings comes with the poster if you order one. So this one has much more info than the other two - I have more practice now. The poster are 18 in by 24 in and cost $35 plus shipping. You can order here (send me
a message).

 Here are the first two, I just reordered them from the printer, so I have a few of them in stock, too.
To order, please send me an e mail to

Best regards Margarethe