Cholla Trio


Here’s another piece that I’ve finished and I’m really happy with it! The thorns are made by scratching on the paper surface to add more texture to the negative pained thorns and segment edges of the cactus itself.

If you remember here’s what it looked like in an earlier post.

So what did I learn from doing this?  First that negative painting to preserve lights is not that difficult.  Negative painting is when you create an image by painting what is around it  I did that on the branch, and also to create a stamen and pistils in the center of the main bloom.  I remembered to describe the elements in varying amounts of specificity.  In other words, not all of the blooms are equally detailed or in focus which gives the viewer something to imagine and fill in the blanks.  I also went ahead and put in the background at the same time as the focal flowers and foliage which helped have some edges soft, some edges sharp (that’s known as lost and found edges).  Plus I learned that all this was FUN to do!

Cholla blooms in progress

Have I mentioned how much I like taking classes with Laurel Weathersbee? This is the third of four classes with her and I have learned so much.  More on that later, because I am energized from class and want to put that energy into my Shiloh commission.

So bye for now. More later…


Cholla times two. day 25

Last night I tried the cholla blossom again for try three and ended up trying a loose interpretation after it.  I know I like the loose one best. Try four. it expresses for me the delicacy and light and heat that surrounds the cactus when in bloom

 How about you? Which do you like better? 

Cactus bloom day 23

This was my second take on painting this cactus bloom. It is really a walking stick or Cholla bloom, not prickly pear as I referred to it in day 19 which was my first attempt. I like the transparency of this attempt, but a lot of you liked the first version: 

Which do you prefer?

Thx for stopping by!

Walk with me?

Walk with me.  Cholla blossom watercolor by Rachel Murphree

Watercolor of cholla blossoms, 11″ x 14″ Click on image to view larger.

The cholla cactus attaches very easily to passersby, and it is never a fun experience for the human or animal. It’s much more fun to enjoy it from afar. Its common name is Walking Stick, and it’s one of my favorites.

This is the product of plein air painting on mother’s day in my side garden. It took me a while of  trial and error, to find my technique to show you the character, spines and spirit of this cool plant. This plant hangs its head over my side wall into the sidewalk below, and it makes me smile as I start my dog walk this time of year. I plan to paint it from that angle as well, backlit by the sun.

This one  will be framed and put in August’s show.  As it gets closer, I’ll give you the dates and location.  I may consider putting it in a square frame.  We’ll see….

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday’s cholla blossoms

Sometimes called the “walking stick” this thorny cactus has yellow buds and gorgeous magenta blossoms. My study is 6″ x 11″ on Arches 140 lb.

cholla blossom study