Category Archives: Cacti & Succulents

Day 22 February 2022

Day 22, 3 x 4.25 in.  mixed media on Arches cold pressed paper. © 2022 Sheila Delgado.
Day 22, 3 x 4.25 in. mixed media on Arches cold pressed paper. © 2022 Sheila Delgado.

I still think of it as “cheating”. When I use digital tools to alter something I have painted by hand. Maybe it is the stigma from the over and incorrect use of Photoshop in social media.

Most often, if I use Photoshop with my artwork, it is only to make the painting look online, the way it does in person. To alter colors that have scanned flat, or too saturated.

For this piece I used Photoshop as a save. I attempted to paint dark, stormy clouds. And failed. Big time failed. Haha. I let the paint dry, and tried to rework what I had done. But they just got worse. I tried several times. Finally, I rewet the sky, and washed off all the paint. Arches is great like that. You can scrub and start over.

I had used a cheap paint, and that is probably why the clouds did not work the way I thought they would. The darker color also left some blotchy, uneven stains. Just enough to make the sky look dirty. Can’t have that. Haha.

Dirty Sky, Clean patch Marked.
Dirty Sky, Clean patch Marked.

It took more time to fix the sky, than it had taken for me to ruin it. Digital isn’t always a quick fix. I played with adding puffy white clouds. Changed the blue. But nothing was working. So I used the clone stamp to “copy and paste” clean sky, to areas of dirty sky.

Using this technique is great, when you are trying to hide a speck of dirt that got on the scanner bed. But using it to fill the whole sky can be a challenge, when there is very little “clean” sky to copy. The texture from the paper ends up being repeated so often, that it creates a pixilated pattern. Not good. I only had two small areas of clean sky to work with.

You might not be able to see the pattern without zooming in. I only highlighted a few. But this should help to show what the problem is.

Repeating patterns.

Next I had to copy and paste some more, to camouflage the pattern. And to be sure, I used the blur tool, to soften areas. To “mask” the pixel edges.

After all this work. A couple of hours at least. I realized, and laughed at myself, that it wasn’t really necessary. (And for such a small piece!) I always save my blog images for the web. Which means that it is a small file size, and much of the details are lost. It is a low resolution image. So if someone tries to steal my work, to reproduce it, all they will get is a blurry mess.

So when I read Hockney’s quote, I laughed. Lordy! Haha. I know he meant something else. But it fit my silly situation just as well.

The moment you cheat for the sake of beauty,
you know you’re an artist.
David Hockney

The importance of art is in the process of doing it,
in the learning experience where
the artist interacts with whatever is being made.
Roy Lichtenstein

2022 Creative Gathering, Day 20

Day 20, 4 x 4 watercolor on Arches cold pressed paper. © 2022 Sheila Delgado.
Day 20, 4 x 4 watercolor on Arches cold pressed paper. © 2022 Sheila Delgado.

Drifting across the vast space,
silent except for wind and footsteps,
I felt uncluttered and unhurried for the first time in a while, already on desert time.
Rebecca Solnit

Loving someone who
doesn’t love you back is like hugging a cactus.
The tighter you hold on, the more it’s going to hurt.
Unknown

Day 19 of February’s 30-Day Creative Gathering

Day 19, 8 x 8 watercolor on Fabriano paper. © 2022 Sheila Delgado.
Day 19, 8 x 8 watercolor on Fabriano paper. © 2022 Sheila Delgado.

I was fighting with this one, and then I realized why it was not working. I was not using Arches paper. You can see in the sky, how spotty the paint settled. In the cactus as well, but the texture works there. I did nave fun with the saguaro. But I always do. Haha.

I’m like the trunk of a cactus…
I take in a dose of culture and time with friends,
then I retreat and go live on it for a while
until I get thirsty again.
Nancy Horan

The canyon country does not always inspire love.
To many it appears barren, hostile, repellent –
a fearsome mostly waterless land of rock and heat,
sand dunes and quicksand, cactus, thornbrush, scorpion, rattlesnake, and agaraphobic distances.
To those who see our land in that manner,
the best reply is, yes, you are right,
it is a dangerous and terrible place.
Enter at your own risk.
Carry water.
Avoid the noonday sun.
Try to ignore the vultures.
Pray frequently.
Edward Abbey