Category Archives: 30-Day Creative Gathering

Day 28 Of February’s 30

Day 28, FEB C.G., 8 x 8, watercolor on paper. © 2020 Sheila Delgado.
Day 28, FEB C.G., 8 x 8, watercolor on paper. © 2020 Sheila Delgado.

The first time I saw this cactus, I thought it was really pretty. Different. It stood out with its white coat of spines. It was under a foot and a half. Not very threatening. Still, I steered clear. The photos were taken in Lucerne Valley, So. Cal. That is east of Victorville. Past Apple Valley. Keep going, and when you are in the middle of nowhere. You’ve arrived. It was a day trip to see Chimney Rock, where the last Indian fight in So. Cal. took place. I found the Cholla heading up into the rocky hills. Looking for ancient Native ovens and other artifacts.

I painted this top side down, but it makes more sense this way. This is a Teddy Bear Cholla (choy-ya), also known as a Jumping Cholla. Follow the links for short informative video’s. There is a photo here that shows why these spines are so painful. Zoom in to see just how many barbs each spine can have.

Teddy Bear Cholla, Side View
Teddy Bear Cholla, Side View

This was a learning experience. In a good way. The background was quick to come together. It is about five or six layers of color. A variegated wash, and then spatters in different hues and sizes.

Cholla, Top View
Cholla, Top View

For the cholla, I laid down a soft, bright green layer. When dry, I added a thin layer of white. Then I started on the spines. First I used the pencil, it did not show well over the white, so I used it around the outer edges. Next, the Posca paint pen. There were two areas where the pen plopped a huge puddle, I spread the paint around with the pen tip, and managed to hide the mistakes fairly well.

I scribbled in the centers of some shapes. I tried to create some directionality, (is that a word?) in the shapes. I worked with three circle shapes as if looking down on the tips. But I bet you will say you see four.

I am really happy with how this turned out. The background is more orange than I planned. But I like it. The paper’s texture works well here. I will do another with a softer background. Thanks for looking!

Neocolor, Posca & Jerry's (Artarama) Jumbo Jet White Charcoal Pencil.
Neocolor, Posca & Jerry’s (Artarama) Jumbo Jet White Charcoal Pencil.

The February 2020 30-Day Creative Gathering, Day 27

Day 27, FEB C.G., 8 x 8, watercolor on paper. © 2020 Sheila Delgado.
Day 27, FEB C.G., 8 x 8, watercolor on paper. © 2020 Sheila Delgado.

I had fun with this piece. I’ll be honest and tell you, the cliff was a complete accident. After the first drip, I just went with it. I used Yellow ochre at the top, and it is very sedimentary. I went over it with some Burnt sienna, that is why it appears more orange than ochre.

The cacti I painted with gouache. I did enjoy the fact that I did not need to plan their location first. It gave me the opportunity to place them, so they did not hide the best parts of the rough stone.

The slideshow below shows some of the Saguaro cacti that can be seen while driving south on the 17. The images are borrowed from Google Maps. Thank you, Google! They really are more noticeable as you are driving. It’s hard to miss them, there are so many! Zoom in to see them better.

The barrel cactus is a friend for lost travelers in the desert. It grows tilted to the southwest. One type of barrel is in fact named Compass Barrel Cactus! Here are some photos I took at the Mayo’s Cacti garden while Pete was having his treatments.

Red Barrel
Red Barrel
Barrel Cactus
Barrel Cactus
Barrel-Assortment
Barrel-Assortment

In the desert a fountain is springing,
In the wide waste there still is a tree,
And a bird in the solitude singing,
Which speaks to my spirit of thee.
LORD BYRON

Day 26 Of The 30-Day Creative Gathering

Day 26, FEB C.G., 8 x 8, watercolor on Arches 140lb. cold-pressed paper. © 2020 Sheila Delgado.
Day 26, FEB C.G., 8 x 8, watercolor on Arches 140lb. cold-pressed paper. © 2020 Sheila Delgado.

For the flowers I used gouache. I haven’t worked with gouache much. I need to play with it more. Gouache is an opaque watercolor paint. Transparent watercolor allows you to see the “white” of the paper through the paint. Gouache paint can be applied in solid colors. This allows artists to paint in layers from dark to light.

The flowers of the Prickly Pear look waxy and are translucent. So gouache was not the right medium for them. Lesson learned. I was hoping to capture the vivid colors. I will try again. Won’t that be fun! Here is a terrific video showing different cacti flowers. If you watch to the end, it gives the names of each.