flora and fauna

Finding White Lilies

white-lilies-cameoWalking in downtown Ajijic, along a small crowded street, a shock of white caught my eye.  It was coming from a dark doorway.  I couldn’t make out what it was exactly so I stepped closer to get a better look.  There were art objects in the doorway as well; a big earthenware bare brown jug with a minimum of decoration, as well as tables with sculptures and displayed paintings.

Then I saw the white of the lilies.  I snapped some shots and felt privileged.  I just loved them. They were dropping red pollen from their stamens onto the lower gigantic petals.  They were on their last leg as cut flowers.  I knew them as stargazer lilies.  I had grown them in Washington.  Mine were many colors of pinks, but I had never seen white ones like these.  I looked up and saw a woman staring at me and smiling.  Apparently I thought I was walking into an art gallery when in reality, I walked right into someone’s studio.  I was embarrassed and apologized and stepped back quickly.  She did not seem to mind.

I felt both silly and lucky at the same time.

Even though I have been in Mexico almost a year, I have not seen one calla lily yet.  I have seen only a few backyard versions while walking in my neighborhood.  They were shades of red and I noticed that they seemed happy in shady gardens.

Diego Rivera painted many works using the calla lily.  Even though we see these images over and over just about everywhere, I don’t get tired of them.  He also painted them so well that he transformed from the well known flower into abstract shapes molded around his figures as perfect adornments. He found a perfect prop for his figures and faces.

Read about this iconic Mexican artist here:

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So lilies of all kinds have been on my painting list for a while.  Here is what I painted today from my photo.  The red grains are pollen.   Click the picture to purchase a print.

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If you would like to grow some of your own calla lilies, this is a good site for information.

To learn more about stargazer lillies…

Here’s a lovely little video of a bee collecting pollen.  It’s relaxing and I’ve watched it a few times. Nature is amazing.

flora and fauna, step by step, how to

A red amaryllis

amarillus-full-webI saw this stunning flower growing out of a very small border garden.  I snapped a quick pic with my phone and I found it interesting–mostly because I was amazed that such a beauty came from a meager space.  It had just rained and there were some raindrops still on the petals.

When I got half way through the work, I realized my values were so much alike, I was headed for trouble.

I was using a few different reds…from Sennellier Red (the main red) to Alizarin Crimson and a little glazing with Opera.  I needed to change something, but I could not figure out what to do.

There was a point where I was very ready to gesso over the whole thing.  Instead, I slept on it.  Two days later, it came to me what I should do.

I glazed the background petals with scarlet red by winsor and newton.  It was so intense and gave me the depth I needed.  Problem solved.

The problems we face are only as difficult as those we are up to solving.  If we can’t figure them out, it’s perfectly ok to continue and keep moving forward.  don’t quit. Take a break.   That’s a good reason to blog.  I may be talking to myself, but I don’t mind. It’s better than watching t.v.

If you  would like a print on paper, metal, canvas or textile, click the image.

 

 

 

flora and fauna, thoughts behind the work

Painting saves my life

I had an accident on the carretera a few weeks ago (the main drag) and damaged my knee.  I now have a few weeks of pain under my belt: a leg brace, a walker and general all around disability that I am ready to leave behind.  I want this to go away but it’s not happening yet.

In the meantime I am still working on my Spanish, I go to class when I am up to it and I try to fumble through as much speaking as I can.  It’s getting better.  Painting makes everything fell better.  It’s my comfort zone.  If I am not feeling any pain I can paint– if I have enough energy.  If I can speak a few words to my friends and neighbors en espanol,  it makes me feel like I’m getting something done.  I have amazing friends and family.  That makes all the difference in the world.

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I am painting flowers and sketching them almost on a daily basis.

I am posting to my POD sites online pretty regularly.  I’ve got two major sites I’m working with and my almost daily Facebook postings keep me in touch with my friends here in Mexico and also in the states.  I am corresponding with the art community here and online.  I love people and they are holding me up almost on a daily basis.

The fall has been very hard on my psyche and the recovery is very slow.  Cracked bones don’t heal quickly and it’s tough being temporarily disabled.  Mostly it’s the trauma of the event that can be depressing.  I try to not think about it because it’s so scary.   I am grateful for my internal time table that pushes me to produce so much art.  It’s not every day in your life that you can be motivated to paint and draw.  Only since I have been in Mexico can I actually do it and not just think about it.   I have the vision of painting the people here, their simple daily lives and the work they do.

Ever since I can remember I have had an obsession to document my little life, from sketchbooks, to articles, to letters, to greeting cards.  It never really goes anywhere except to realize that it’s a part of me and who I am.  I am learning to accept it.

This recording of events may be silly and useless to lots of people, but it has been my way of coping with good and bad happenings.  It is what it is: so if I can turn it into something that others can gain any hope or encouragement from, I’ll just continue to do it and then forget about it, and move on.

In the meantime, the work is accumulating and I am healing.

Ajijic, flora and fauna

Jimmy and her orchids

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So the original is SOLD and now in a new home in Jojotepec.

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print available for purchase       Jimmy loves her orchids, her garden, her life. Orchids to her are more of a life-style than a hobby.  So when she invited me to her home to see them, of course I was eager.  It was a treat.  I wish I could remember all the names and things she told me about them, but I can’t.

There are three gardens.   First there is the front garden which you see when you enter through the black metal gates.  Then there is the orchid garden which is an enclosed patio from the house and lastly, there is the fruit orchard and flower bed garden at the back.

 

When you are walking through San Antonio, (an area in Ajijic) you see many sets of metal gates.  You really can’t guess what lies behind them.  There are homes and gardens of unimaginable intrigue and beauty.  I love Mexico for all its surprises

Jimmy is a walking encyclopedia about orchids.  It’s a full time job to keep everything watered and pruned and looking happy and pristine.  I don’t know how she racks up the energy, walking with her cane, to do all of her daily chores to maintain this lifestyle.

 

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Here is the beautiful orchid herself “Jimmy”.  She told me there were no boys in the family and she was the last one, so they named her Jimmy after her father.

When you enter the house, you see a table, a mirror and a collection of hats that she makes.  It’s a welcoming site.

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She makes hats and knits for babies for charity and does much more.

My favoritething she told me was when she went to elementary school in a one-room school house.  She always asked a lot of questions, to the annoyance of adults around her. One day a new teacher told her she could ask as many questions as she liked.  She jumped for joy and went home saying, “My teacher said I could ask any questions I wanted.”  She said it was the happiest day of her life.  She still is an independent spirit.

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My quick watercolor of Jimmy.
step by step, how to

Liz’ Pink Flower challenge

 

My friend Liz Ozselcuk does beautiful digital photography.  She challenged me to play with one of her photos.  So this is the watercolor I came up with.  This was so much fun.  Here’s the step by step of how we are playing with this image.

Liz’ digital photo which was originally as the white flower looked with no changes, then she turned it into this.   

Here’s the original white flowers before digital  (changes) copy to your browser:   https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10210656261553030&set=a.1062893142888.2009193.1542778282&type=3

So here’s an explanation of how I did my little painting from her digital change….https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10210650477208425&set=a.3348657045557.2120032.1542778282&type=3&theater