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.
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.
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!