This is a photo of the portrait of Helen in progress. It is near completion but still needs some work. I periodically like to place it in a frame at this stage to get an overall view of the work.
This is a close up photo of the portrait of Helen, a six year old girl from NYC. It is not finished yet but I like to set a portrait that is near completion in a frame to help me with composition and values. It makes it easier to see where it needs to go lighter and darker. It also helps me to see shapes and masses important in the composition. I then take it out of the frame to work on it and repeat that several times until the portrait is complete. I made a trip to NY for the first pose. After I returned to my studio in Tucson I thought it would be nice to include her favorite doll. On my second trip to NY I had Helen hold the doll and I painted most of it in right in their apartment from life.
The saguaro is such a unique and interesting cactus. I love the challenge they present to the painter. The color, proportions, and individual character of the Saguaro present the artist with many decisions as to how to best represent them in a painting. The shadows of the larger ones with their many arms are always changing with the moving sun, creating intense greens or deep purple silhouettes against the bright blue skies of Arizona.