Works in Progress #5


A Cascade of Cactus Blooms


October 24, 2003

Cascade of Cactus Blooms #1

This painting will be shown in my new gallery, Ars Longa, located on Kit Carson Road in Taos, New Mexico. The gallery already has two of my cactus paintings so this will be a small companion piece to the others. I plan to do so more long and narrow sunflowers for Ars Longa and my other new gallery, Michael FitzSimmons Decorative Arts, located in the River North District of downtown Chicago, Illinois.

Right now, this image is in a very early stage of under painting. The big leaves of the prickly pear cactus are pale washes of Viridian with a light wash of Thalo Blue. I allow each layer to dry completely before I start the next one.

The annoying thing about a cactus is keeping the web of spines painted correctly. Each spine needs deep darks, a middle value with a stark white highlight. I will probably end up using thin washes of gesso to punch up the these spines.

The cactus bud is painted with layers of every red that I own. To get that fuzzy, textured highlight on the first bud at the bottom of the picture, I took a flat, synthetic brush (dipped in lots of water) and scrubbed it out.




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