Sunday, July 14, 2013

Peacock In The Prickly Pears- Plein Air - Not As Usual

Peacock In The Prickly Pears   10x10 Oil/Linen
I try to get out every week to paint outdoors.  Of course I paint in my studio as well, but somehow painting outdoors brings me greater joy.  My plein air paintings are usually not fabulous, but it doesn't matter because each time I paint en plein air, I am trying to apply and use old skills and new skills.  I'm trying to decide when to use which.  I think of the lessons from the various teachers I've had and I think of the images of artwork from artists I admire.

Laura Wambsgans and I had been wanting to paint together for a while and set a date a week or so ahead to meet somewhere.  As the date approached, we decided to try a place neither of us had been to before.  My friend and collector of my art, Glenys Norwood, had tried to get me to join her where she rides her horse in Browns Canyon in the northwest San Fernando Valley, CA, but it hadn't worked out for a variety of reasons.

Although it is July in Southern California, we had a very uncharacteristic rain storm during the night before we met.  The air was filled with humidity and there were scattered sprinkles, but it was warm and we both really wanted to paint.  When Laura and I finally met up (after getting lost) at the top of Browns Canyon neither of us saw anything we wanted to paint.  But we had passed some interesting things on the way up.  I saw a quail sitting on a fence.   I saw several cattle with rather big horns wandering around on the road and I saw this huge prickly pear cactus which looked like it might be something we wanted to paint.  Laura was game, so we both got set up to paint the cactus.

Earlier that week I been looking through my Len Chmiel book, "An authentic Nature" and had seen several painting of his Santa Rita cactus.  A few of them had quail sort of mixed in.  Perhaps seeing the quail inspired me, but when a flock (yes a FLOCK) of wild peacocks and hens came flying and strolling through, I decided to include them in with my cactus paddles.
Len Chmiel
Santa Ritas With Scaled Quail

While we were painting Glenys rode by and stopped to chat before going up to ride her horse, Bob.  She helps a group called "Ride With Pride" which does a lot of good for disabled youth.

I think the humidity and overcast nature of the day saved us from a rather hot and miserable experience.   While we were painting I received an email from a collector who wanted to purchase another of my cactus paintings, so perhaps there were "cactus vibes" all over.  I'm no Len Chmiel, but I aspire to keep trying to paint in his shadow.  As it was, Laura and I had a great time, painting that huge cactus!!

Hope you enjoy my "Peacock In The Prickly Pear" painting.

On another note.   I'm so proud to let you know that my painting, "Casting About In The Great Unknown" which was juried in to the Burbank Creative Arts Center was awarded a FIRST PLACE prize by juror Professor Tim Forcum.   YAY!!  I also received an award for "Best Naturescape".    The show will be hanging until the end of the month.


CrimsonLeaves said...

You've captured that lovely dusty greenish bluish color of the cactus leaves so beautifully, Marian. And congratulations on your first place naturescape win!!!

Marie Theron said...

Lovely colours, and how super to combine the plants and the bird in a painting! Of course you are on such a roller coaster ride of wins,what a lot of awards you must have by now!

Marian Fortunati said...

Hi Marie and Sherry..
Marie... Hope your winter is mild. Our summer is pretty dry and hot here in SoCal.
Now that I've looked at this little cactus painting and those of several other artists, I've decided to get back in and tackle them again. The cactus are a rather difficult subject, but I'm going to keep trying to get it better.

Thanks for the congrats... I'm always thrilled to get a special pat on the back.

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