Paradise Glow wins First Place!

Watercolor painting of red blooms and foliage
Paradise Glow Framed watercolor $450

I am absolutely thrilled to announce that Paradise Glow, my painting of the desert red bird of paradise plant, won First Place in the NM Watercolor Society’s Southern Chapter juried exhibit! Thank you to the exhibit judge Robert Dozal for choosing my piece. This is a first for me to win an award in an NMWS show!

Jeweled Crown Framed watercolor $450

I have a second piece juried into the exhibit called Jeweled Crown. Thank you to juror Linda Doll for picking both of my paintings to be in the exhibit.

You can view the entire show here: https://tinyurl.com/SC-2020-NMWS The show is a really nice one with artist’s comments under each image and also comments from Robert on the show and the prizewinners. The exhibit is online only because of the pandemic, but we were scheduled to be at the Branigan Museum in Las Cruces and hopefully will be there in another year. They are super to work with. So please sit back and enjoy the exhibit: Rough and Tumble: Life in a Desert Town.

Pierogies and painting

During isolation I have been out of commission with lower back issues for several weeks and standing, sitting and walking were painful. The recovery is slow because I didn’t want to risk a visit to the chiropractor and I was really missing painting. Today I made a travel kit to have near my sofa and painted while my daughter cooked pierogies and kielbasa. The onions were starting to sprout because I hadn’t been cooking recently and they have interesting shapes. And now it is time to eat!!

On the Easel: Desert Florals

Here are two paintings that are in process, and almost finished. I thought I’d post them so you could see what was occupying my time recently!

The first is a barrel cactus and in reality the blossoms are more vivid than they appear here, but they need to be amped up, and the spines “pushed back” as well as other tweaks.  

Barrel blooms in progress

The second is one of my favorite subjects: The Desert Red Bird of Paradise. I’m happiest with this painting so far, but it also needs tweaks and the stamens!

Red Bird of Paradise blooms (in progress)
Red Bird of Paradise blooms (in progress)

I’ve had the privilege this year of being in a watercolor critique group where we each have 15 minutes to present one or two paintings for constructive criticism. Both of these went before the group this month and I’ll work on them as time allows soon. It’s quite beneficial, I highly recommend joining one of these groups!

Sunflowers

’tis the time of year for sunflowers, although they are welcome anytime! I have been playing with ink sketches with washes in my sketchbook, as well as a just watercolor painting. The bunch of flowers is now gone but my memory of it is on paper.

Watercolor about 12″ square.
Sketchbook ink and wash
Another ink and wash in the book

Are you willing to change?

Echeverria, watercolor by Rachel from several years ago

I wanted to show you a series of paintings that I did through a class taken in the summer with the fabulous painter Nancy Frost Begin. She challenged us to be willing to simplify our subject and change elements such as color, value, etc. to INVENT rather than just REPORT in our painting. I started with the photograph that inspired this painting I did of echeverria several years ago and I simplified the subject first.

This was a more simplified painting with deeper values than the original.
This is a cool version of it in progress

The first question: Was I willing to change the color?

COLOR change

Was I willing to change the shape?

One of my favorites…abstracting the shape

Was I willing to change the scale? To zoom in? or out…

SCALE change and also playing with pure color against the various grays made from the orange and blue

Was I willing to change the value?

VALUE change…the white edges became the dark edges and it has a large focus on LINE.

Was I willing to change the form?

I chose to remove it from being plant like/organic and making it more geometric…and also play with the color.

Was I willing to change the space? i.e. reverse what we think about the background and foreground

One might expect the warm colors to be in the center and come forward and the cooler in the background to recede, but I flipped it, as well as flipping the color on the little spines to dark

What a difference they all are aren’t they? coming from the same point of inspiration. It was a mind blowing and mind expanding exercise that I’m sure I will do again! I loved it!

Nancy Frost Begin, NMWS will be the guest demo artist for the Rio Bravo Watercolorists on November 20, Wednesday at 10:30 at the International Museum of Art, 1211 Montana, El Paso. She will be discussing What Are You Willing to Change?

Paintings on the “Cradle”

I’ve recently mounted paintings onto deep cradled wood panels, sometimes painted on the sides, sometimes not. Here they are individually and as a group.  Click on any photo to enlarge and browse.

The paintings are at the Marketplace at Placita Santa Fe (5034 Doniphan Dr, El Paso) or at First Impressions Salon (6633 N Mesa St # 502 – ask for Leslie)  

Because they are mounted on wood and are not behind glass, they can be shipped.  Contact me if you’d like details.  

Up in the Air in Albuquerque!

watercolor painting of blooms of Agave/Century Plant.

This painting of Century Plant/Agave blooms 20+ feet in the air was juried into the Albuquerque chapter of NMWS Spring Show.  It’s the Society’s 50th anniversary celebration with an exhibit of over 100 watercolor paintings and is definitely worth a stop if you’re in Albuquerque during May! Click on the link for complete info.

With this acceptance I will have signature status into the NMWS so I can sign my paintings with those initials after my name from now on. This has been a goal of mine and I’m happy to have reached it! 

Up in the Air $400

A Modern Take

These varnished watercolors applied to black painted 2″ deep canvases are selling as fast as I can paint them. They have a more modern rich color because of the varnish and not being behind glass. The smallest is 5″ square. The largest so far is 8×10″. Fun to do and see on the walls! So far they have been only at Flattop Salon but I hope to have them at the Marketplace at Placita Santa Fe and at First Impressions. #elpasowatercolors #flowers #shopsmall

Apache Plume Morning @ Dona Ana Arts Council show


Apache Plume Morning
This painting inspired by our hike on Lost Dog Trail in West El Paso was juried into the NM Watercolor Society’s annual Spring Show this year at the Dona Ana Arts Council’s Gallery, 1740 Calle De Mercado – Mesilla.  May 6-29, 2019

See it in person at our Artists’ Reception, Saturday, May 11th from 4-7 pm.  Meet the artists, enjoy the over 35 paintings, and enjoy light food and refreshments.  Regular gallery hours: M-F 9-5. 

Apache Plume Morning $325
 

KCOS Art Auction again this year!

I’ve donated “Stumbled Upon” to the KCOS Art Auction this year.  It will go on auction Friday April 27th in the 5:30-6 slot.  Get full information here: https://www.kcosartauction.org/april27

This is my fourth year donating to this great cause, I love public television, and I hope that you’ll check out the auctions and take home some lovely artwork. 

These are the last three paintings I’ve donated to the KCOS Art Auction! The big sunflower (Flor del Sol) won the Juror Award in 2018.