I admit that I have an obsession with succulents. Thankfully, its not a fatal attraction. Its hard to kill one…even the leaves will start growing roots! My attraction has produced several paintings. If I get a good photo sometimes I paint it more than once.
I like to experiment and use different mediums, change the composition, and see what I can do with it. Sometimes, the combination is so successful that I produce a series using the same concept but with different photos, like my Shadow Dance series. I have this amazing agave that is producing pups like crazy. I took some photos of it and the shadows on all the pups just really stood out and when I painted them, they turned into the focus. These little gems are painted on an upcycled panel from an art crating warehouse that ships art for museums. I love these little panels. They are covered in a brown paper that I primed so I could paint over it. The brown paper is what you see in the background.
Another painting I’ve done 3 different ways is the Prickly series. I just liked the photo so much that I kept painting it. The first one I painted is the pastel on black paper in the middle. I love the texture in that paining. The second one was a commission that I did and its a very large oil paining (3’x5′), the details and soft color changes in the agave’s petals are beautiful, you can really get lost in it. The last one, on the right is my most recent rendition. I have been working on a series of small paintings on paper with acrylic. With all the different mediums and surfaces, the effect produced is entirely different.
I was asked to paint a series of my agave and succulents on paper for a show at the Rebecca Molayem Gallery this past July. I had seen some new paper from Arches at Blick that you could paint with oils on without any additional prep work. So I bought several sheets of it and created these paintings.
The original paintings are available on my website athenamantle.com. You can find these and my other southwest prints on FineArtAmerica.com
The month of December proved to be a popular one for agave paintings. I painted this commission of a blue agave for a collector in Scottsdale. My largest one yet at 36″ x 60″. I have to say I was a little sad to send it off not having gotten much time to enjoy it myself. But alas, I make paintings so others can enjoy them so off it went!
Just before Christmas I sold my Blue Agave Family painting to a native plant lover from LA’s Westside. Its always exciting to be found through Google – ahhh, the power of the internet! I couldn’t have been happier to deliver it to it’s new gorgeous home.
Because this painting had been hanging over my fireplace for me to enjoy, I had to replace it before the company arrived for the holidays! I found the largest canvas I had and painted a replacement, finishing just 2 hours before throwing a holiday party. Whew! I couldn’t bare the thought of a wall devoid of art so I painted this 30″ x 40″ foxtail agave alla prima!
If this is any indication of whats to come, 2012 will continue the agave trend as I gear up to paint more of this series. A few of my agave paintings have been selected for Margaret Danielak’s upcoming show “Red” at the Pasadena Women’s City Club. The opening reception will be Thursday, February 9th from 6-9 pm. 160 N. Oakland Avenue -Pasadena, CA 91101
Today designer Mollie Ranize picked up my painting “New Blue Agave” for her design project at the Good Shepherd Homeless Center for Women and Children where she is beginning her transformation of one of the many rooms that are part of the Good Shepherd Design Project.
Mollie makes sure to stay connected with the design community through her professional memberships with ASID, NKBA and USBGC. She is also a regular contributor to many environmental, animal and human welfare organizations.
Her interior design studio ranges from large scale residential renovations, exclusive photography and production studios, restaurants and lounges to highly publicized health and fitness centers. dmar interiors is a well versed design company with impeccable attention to detail, respect for budget and belief that customer service is what makes the most positive outcome on a project.
I’m excited to see how she incorporates the piece in the renovated room. I’ll share some photos when we get the big reveal! Happy Designing Mollie!
An Extra-Ordinary Street
The Lake Avenue street median in Pasadena has been catching my attention ever since they landscaped it with some really unusual curly agave and a large variety of other agave and succulents. I secretly scheme in my mind ways to go steal pups from the plants in the middle of the night. It’s become a joke between my husband and I because every time we drive down that street I point them out as if he had never seen them before. He turned it around on me and started pointing them out to me, “Hey, did you see THOSE?” he’d say. It gave me a good chuckle. The truth is I could sit on that street and stare at the plants for days and be perfectly happy. I find something new to admire each time I pass by, they are just mesmerizing!
I had my camera with me one day and took some photos. For some reason I didn’t paint them right away as you might expect. Maybe I had too much built up in my mind about what great agave paintings they would make or maybe I just hadn’t formulated how the heck I was going to pull it off. Who knows my motivations…certainly not me! I didn’t photograph my favorite curly agave because the late afternoon light was blocked by the office buildings. Oh darn, I’ll just have to go back and look at them some more. But these beauties caught my eye so I snapped a few shots. I started the drawings for these weeks ago and today I went for it with the paint! I am doing a diptych (or a series of two) so I painted them simultaneously.
Here are some in progress photos…
I’d love to know what you think.
Inspiration comes from unexpected places. I received an email from an old friend who recently found out I was painting full-time and was focusing on desert plants. The email contained photos of some plants he came across while he was out and about. He thought of me when he saw them and took the time to take photos and send them to me, how thoughtful is that?! Awesome guy! Thanks Steve you’re the best!
Last month I was looking thorough my many photos to find some inspiration and I came across his. I had also been thinking of experimenting with working on paper. Paper and plants…what could be more green? The result is something I’m quite fond of…I hope you like it too.
It’s hard to believe that it is already that time of year again! ‘Tis the season of gift giving and this year you can give those special people in your life something that they will treasure….art!
Why art? A beautiful painting hanging on the wall will be a constant reminder of how much you care, long after other gifts have been used up or forgotten. This art is beautiful, unique and can not be found at Target!
My paintings are now available as high quality fine art prints through Fine Art America. Sold in a variety of sizes as stretched canvas prints or custom framed with thousands of mat and frame combinations. Click on the link and order yours today!
As a thank you for your support I’m offering a 25% discount on my prints. Use discount code: FKTDRX at checkout. Offer is valid through December 31st.
Original paintings are available at www.athenamantle.com or at Modest Fly Art Gallery 7576 Foothill Blvd. Tujunga, CA www.modestflyartgallery.com. Desert Jewels will be on display through December 20th.
Great Stocking Stuffer!
I am offering a desk calendar with the Desert Jewels painting series for $10. If you are interested in purchasing one of these send me a message through my website. Or you might also like succulent canvas prints available through Fine Art America!
Thanks to all those who came out to the opening reception of Desert Jewels. I invited my good friend Karen Meinhart to join me at the show and display her gorgeous succulent container gardens.
Click on the link below to get a glimpse of the show.