Listen to the Work

If you've ever heard it said that "... the largest part of the job of the artist is to listen to the work and go where it tells him to go" - Madeleine L'Englethen you'll know how I've approached this next painting. As you can see, the reference photo is rather boring as far as the color pallet goes. In my mind, however, I envision this picture with brilliant colors. 


So, using my reference photo to guide me with my proper values, I translated the existing image into one with a totally different color scheme. You can see the paintbrush I used for this step, a 1 1/2" Yasutomo brush.

I wanted this cactus painting to have crazy, intense color that was not what you would normally expect to see on a plant like this but would look believable none the less. I decided to "listen to the work" and used the brilliant colors of the background to guide me with my choices of color for the cactus. With pastel began bringing the image forward. 
I tried very hard NOT to make the cactus pads the predictable "green" but instead incorporated the deep blues and crimson shades of the watercolor  under painting into the shadowed areas of the plant and allowed it to bloom into vibrant shades of orange and red for the blossoms. 

This was a challenging exercise but one that had beautiful results and definitely hurled me outside of my box. 

I'll post the final image next week, it should be finished by then.


  1. This is exciting. Looking forward to the finish.

  2. This looks SO COOL!! You are inspiring!!

  3. I love your technique of the pastel over watercolor. Not something I will try but so thankful for artist like you that I can just soak up your beautiful work. BTWY I have been in you fair city.


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