I'm still super excited about painting the desert. And, I found a spot without cacti. So, here is my rendering of the Joshua Tree desert scrub landscape in the middle of summer - it was over 100 degrees! The original photo sure looks it. I tried to restore some life to the painted version.
This piece is crazy busy but I do love it. I made it in an original homestead cabin in Joshua Tree, from photos I took in 100 degree heat earlier in the day. The only issue is the mulberry paper I used for the collage is so light it adds depth but it's tough to see! Darnit, I'll have to keep working with this subject matter.
Texture. I was inspired by the endless landscape of spaced trees that you can see from a slightly elevated vantage point in the park.
Color. The vibrancy of this natural landscape, despite the heat, was inspiring. I layered a cropped version of this landscape loosely interpreted with watercolors.
Collage. I like working with overexposures for these mixed media pieces, because they distill the image well. It gives me a clear idea of how my composition will work for the collage portion, and I have them printed onto photo paper so that I can trace the original image. Yes, this is in the piece, but the mulberry paper I used is quite transparent. So, it adds a nice depth but it's less of a compositional element that I had initially thought. I still think it perfectly embodies the desert in all its spirit, though.
Do you like this? It can be yours, here!
I paint with oil. But as I've been experimenting with mixed media on a small scale, primarily with watercolors, I've been introduced to acrylic gel mediums. Also, I have a bunch of pigment from Venice that I'm always looking for a project for. When I was going through my Zion National Park photos, I tried to come up with a way to capture the rock faces and minimal vegetation, and came up with this.
First, I used molding paste and a silicone tool thing that looks like it should be in a kitchen to create the lines in the rock face of the source photo. I used panel for this because I wanted something that could hold a more structural piece. Then, I mixed a drop of water with my raw Venetian pigments and went to town mixing them in with acrylic gel medium to get a paint/glaze on the surface. I had no idea how fun that would be.
I also do not trust those pigments. So I Krylon'd the whole thing with workable fixative as an extra insurance policy. I opted out of tinsel for the trees here and instead used a very light green mulberry paper to add the bushes. Finally, I used pen and ink to add in the trees. This was a very fun process! I'm looking forward to working like this more often.
I bought 1,000 pieces of silver tinsel, and this is what I did with it. A three-part 6 x 9 mixed media piece inspired by Zion National Park, which I am thrilled to send off to its new home with a dear friend. Also, I developed many lessons learned for collaging tinsel, if you ever find yourself in that situation.
Texture. The rock faces at various parts in Zion are crazy. The Earth did that. The first layer of this piece is an oil pastel resist of this rock face's texture.
Color. Zion is famous for the quality of its light. We went in February, which was a surprisingly great idea. The watercolor on this piece is inspired by this mountain river.
Collage. The most striking thing of the whole experience, to me, was how all of the trees looked like shining silver in their February nakedness. They were barely starting to bud, which added to the effect. I've been trying to figure out how to capture this since then, and, well, then came tinsel.
A few years ago, during The Great Turkey Road Trip, I collected photos of marble carvings and sculptures at early Christian sites near Roman and Greek ruins such as Heirapolis and Ephesus. The Christian church was very much in its infancy then, using architectural motifs and techniques taken from Roman temples. I found the workmanship fascinating, and also was surprised to realize that I was standing in a Turk-less Turkey. There were no Turks for the first few hundred years AD because they didn't exist yet.
Having spent time in Central Asia, where the precursors of modern Turkey hailed from, I wanted to express the overlapping demography of Turkey's history. So I marched myself down to the Grand Bazaar, found my ikat person, and bought some Central Asian silk ikats. This is a traditional style of weaving from Central Asia, which I use here to demonstrate the richness that comes from overlapping these two cultures: the Greco-Roman early Christian church, and the Seljuk settlers who arrived a few centuries later.