“Our December Desert”

I’m excited to be offering these small original paintings in bookmark form! 
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On the Easel

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Hello everyone!  It’s been a productive week so far including doing several value sketches, finishing Cactus Queen and hopefully finishing this piece to submit both to a show this weekend!  We shall see…

I wanted to share the progress on this piece including my set up.  I paint exclusively now standing up at my easel for the most part with the painting almost vertical.  If I need to I can quickly level the painting to not have the paint puddle. So on the left I have several reference photos, not working completely and specifically from any of them, but largely using the value sketch to guide me.

flordelsol (2)And I’m happy to announce that pendants made from prints of my watercolors are now available at Dorsey’s Cards, 6101 Dew Dr, on El Paso’s Westside, along with greeting cards.  Stop by and say hello to Andrea Dorsey and her staff!

My prints, cards, and magnets are available at the Marketplace @ Placita Santa Fe, 5034 Doniphan inside the Magic Bistro!

Paradise in Yellow

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Throughout the week I kept adding blooms and pod stalks to the practice piece and it looks pretty good cropped to this size, so I’m calling it done!  It’s an 8″ x 10″ painting which would mat to an 11″ x 14″ frame.  The price for it matted but not framed is $95.

Why is it called Paradise in Yellow?  Because the flower is a desert shrub known as Yellow Bird of Paradise.  Thanks for stopping by, and as always, I’d love to hear your comments.

First Day of School

yellow Bird of Paradise blossoms

And that means back to painting for me!  Getting back to a regular schedule just feels so good.   I spent a couple of hours in the studio yesterday painting yellow Bird of Paradise blossoms on scrap paper in preparation for working on the larger painting I blogged about the other day. 

I was really happy with the bloom on the left but then I used too heavy a hand on the delicate red stamens that are so distinctive. On the right blossom I used a smaller brush, less paint and tried to do each in one “take”.  I  painted the stamens first, let them dry and then painted the bloom.

These blooms were done without drawing first.  I wanted to use the paintbrush as the drawing tool and focus on the shapes, curves and 3D effect of the petals and using warm and cool yellows to achieve it.  I enjoyed the practice session a lot!

Getting Back into the Groove

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Yellow bird of paradise in progress

I’ve had some time off from painting because summer with teens is busy and I’ve had knee surgery and other stresses.  But now I’m on the mend, and school starts soon, but when will painting start?  HMMMMM…. that is the big question I’ve been asking myself for a week now, as I find time to mop the kitchen floor, organize cabinets, etc.

Does any of this sound familiar? I bet I’m not the only artist to feel like this.

In the organization, I found a handwritten note that I had made and then lost, and I want to share it with you.  It’s tips on how to get back into the groove,  Here are three that  I got by  listening to this art motivational podcast by Alyson Stanfield:  https://www.artbizblog.com/reboot-podcast/

  1. Show UP! Physically get into the studio, wet your paints, plan your colors, and just PAINT!
  2. Have low expectations…. be your own best friend to whom you would say, of course you won’t do well right out of the gate…you have to warm up.
  3. Remember your “learning edge” or what excites you to learn.  work on that, as if you are painting for the bin or garbage can.

So how did this work for me?  I showed up today, I worked on a piece that I was already not happy with and had put masa paper on top to have a fresh start with background colors coming through, and I remembered to squint to see values.  I’m excited by delicate flowers, especially desert ones, so this project worked to get me rebooted today.  I like how the masa paper which is a Japanese thin paper that puts a texture down helps the delicate blossom effect.  And what I found is that I LOVE putting paint on paper.  that’s the thing I need to remember when I get out of the groove again.

I also used to paint from computer screens thinking that it’s better to be able to zoom in, but I’ve found that I prefer painting by referring to a printed photo.

So, what works to get you back into the groove?  any tips you can share? I’d love to hear some…thank you for stopping by today!

 

 

Dog Days of Summer?

Apples a la Blasdell

Apples a la Blasdell

Take a break from the heat this Friday evening — it’s cool inside the watercolor show at EPCC!  I will have almost a dozen paintings on display so it’s a great place to see a lot of my work in one place.  L’Alliance Francaise d’El Paso is hosting their annual watercolor show at the Administrative Services Center of EPCC at 9050 Viscount. this Friday, August 10th from 6-8 pm.  The food and drinks are yummy and there is a lot of fabulous art to view.

To get there, take the Hunter/Viscount exit, turn left, go past Montwood intersection and turn at the light with the EPCC sign on top.

spurge among the prickly pears

Spurge Among the Prickly Pear

 

 

The show continues until Labor Day and the hours are 8-5 Monday through Friday. The pieces are not for sale at the show, but can be purchased directly from me after.  Remember, as an email subscriber you get 10% off the price of any original purchased directly from me!  The prices of these pieces run from $295 for the 16 x 20 size to $425.

 

Here are some behind the scenes views as I got ready for the show this weekend.  First, I needed to round up framed paintings, and because there’s only so much storage room at my house, I needed to go to my inlaws’ house where I happily “store” them on their walls!  I am so fortunate to have them, in many many ways.

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Then I made sure no smudges or dust was on the paintings/glass and redid the labels if necessary.  I don’t remember where I found this idea online, but I make bags from old towels by sewing up two sides so it makes a pouch to carry each painting.  For the 1/2 sheet paintings, or the ones that are 20″ x 28″ or larger in size, I’ve used a larger shower sheet/beach towel size and sewed a hand towel sideways at one end.  The smaller towel is not quite as long but it works to make a large enough bag to carry the bigger framed pieces.  I am normally quite the procrastinator, so I was proud that I got all this done and in my trunk a day before the show setup!

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Here’s one of the “X” freestanding walls that holds my work.  I’ve included what I call the painting “backstory” on the labels along with media, my name, phone and title of the work.  It’s what I was thinking, or what inspired me, where I was, etc.

Work in progress: fantasy beach

As a beach comber this might be a fantasy beach…it is a piece in progress started by laying in colors in a soft wash and then carving out and defining shell shapes with medium and dark values. It is a lot of fun and maybe 75% done.

The next steps are to make some shells more believable and continue getting depth and partial shells. Also I will string a path of darks leading you into the left top shell focal point.

This is the painting in an earlier stage. What do you think? I would love to hear!

Cactus queen

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Cactus and iceplant in progress. Rachel Murphree watercolors

I’ve been I’ve been away from painting for a while because of work and travel and a bit of illness, but I am so happy to say that I am back in the studio again. This is a piece in progress on my easel.

For some reason I think of her as a cactus Queen even though she’s been mis-shapened by pollution and the like.

When I saw her over the years by Hillside Coffee in Montecillo, El Paso, I was impressed by her colors of oranges and yellows, and the ice plant’s soft succulent texture spreading around the bottom of her spikiness.

For awhile there I quite lost my way in creating depth in the ice plant foliage, but I’m happy to say that I think I have a handle on it now.

So there is more work to do in working on the distressed areas of the cactus and adding more spines and more details.

Flor del Sol @ KCOS Auction

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I’m very pleased to announce that my painting Flor del Sol won a Juror Award for Still Life and Landscape in this year’s KCOS Auction!  You can view the award winning paintings here.  I’m honored to be in such good company .  https://www.kcosartauction.org/about

Globe Mills plein air_rachel_murphree_watercolors

I will let you know what times this painting, and my other donated painting, Gone but Not Forgotten (Globe Mills), will be auctioned to benefit our wonderful public TV station.

Art Auction Air Dates
Saturday, April 22: 5:00 pm–9:00 pm
Sunday, April 23: 5:00 pm–9:00 pm
Saturday, April 29: 5:00 pm–9:00 pm
Sunday, April 30: 5:00 pm–9:00 pm

 

Double shot of watercolor

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A reminder that my painting “In the Spotlight” will be at the NMWS Spring show of the Las Cruces/Southern Chapter which opens this Saturday, March 31st from 5-7.  Hope to see you there!

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Across the street at the Dona Ana Arts Council’s new gallery will be another watercolor show by a NMWS signature member, Arlene Tugel. Make an arts evening night out in Mesilla with yummy restaurants nearby!

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