Watercolor: Opuntia (& art show photos from last weekend)

Opuntia 8 x 9.5 Watercolor (available here) (Sold)

I went scouting for painting references at¬†the Los Angeles Arboretum a few weeks ago, with an upcoming fund raising exhibit at the Arboretum in mind. ¬†This watercolor of a prickly pear cactus in the sun (Opuntia) was one of the results of my wanderings in the garden. The gala event was this past Sunday, and even though it rained on an outdoor gourmet dinner & art exhibit, everyone in attendance remained enthused, engaged and complimentary of the evening’s festivities.

First washes on Opuntia

When it rains on an art exhibit outdoors, and your work doesn’t have a canopy for cover, it’s wise to carry¬†plastic tarps in your gear¬†– the kind you’d use to cover the floors if you were painting interior walls. For a few dollars, you can carry a giant sheet of clear plastic that can be draped over your display panels in a sudden downpour. I used my last tarp, so I’ll replenish my supplies this week. #alwaysbeprepared

Adding values to the shapes
Opuntia finished in the studio

I finished Opuntia just in time to frame it and take it to the fund raising exhibit at the Arboretum (see photos below), and while the rain may have deterred folks from standing and looking at art in a lingering, relaxed fashion, their positive feedback was appreciated all the more while dodging drops.

Opuntia freshly framed for an exhibit at the LA Arboretum

These books entertained me beautifully while I painted & framed this week. I totally enjoyed listening to¬†all of them, and I especially loved the book on Velasquez. If you like¬†history, observations on the traditions of painting portraits, artist to patron protocol, hierarchy in a King’s castle in ¬†the 1600’s, and analysis of Velasquez’ paintings from a deeply¬†humanized perspective, listen to this book. ūüôā


The Pasadena Artwalk in the Playhouse District this past Saturday

The day before the Arboretum show, I spent Saturday at the Pasadena Artwalk in the Playhouse District with about 70 other artists. We had perfectly lovely weather Рa little warm for sure Рbut sunny and bright, and not windy, which is always a concern when your art is under a vinyl tent. #sailboatinthewind

A visit from Bob Oltman of the Pasadena Museum of California Art while setting up my booth at the Pasadena Artwalk (photo by Mike Pashistorian)


A lovely alcove for displaying watercolors at LA Arboretum’s celebration of Peggy Dark Sunday night (This was just before it started raining.) ūüôĀ

Every year, I exhibit in several fundraising events, where a portion of my sales will go to a good cause. This is something you can do whether you’re¬†a full time “professional” artist or a hobby painter/dabbler. It offers you an opportunity to get comfortable discussing your work with an art-buying crowd, and you meet other artists participating in the exhibit.¬†Additionally, you’re putting time (& money from any sales) in for a good cause. This is one of the benefits of having a blog or a web site, where people can peruse your work, and see if its a good fit for a charity event. Do you have a place online where people can see your work?

A dinner shot by featherandbean showing beautiful food presentation, and rain on the table.
Fellow artists Julie Svendson and Laura Wambsgans exploring the Arboretum with me a few weeks before the fund raising exhibit

The LA Arboretum exhibit featured five artists, and they were¬†invited by Gale Kohl, the proprietor of Gale’s Restaurant, and the recipient of last year’s recognition banquet, and Laura Wambsgans, my talented and beautiful artist friend. If you visit Laura’s¬†site, look at her archive of stone sculptures as well as her recent plein air paintings. She creates stunning work. Doing events like this fund raiser is just one more way to commune with artists face to face, while enjoying a night discussing art-making, art supplies, challenges in the studio, and creative and business accomplishments. I promise it’ll put a skip in your step for weeks afterwards.

LA Arboretum waterfall
Peacocks wander the LA Arboretum grounds, and this week, I saw (& heard) mamas, daddies and a string of little babies trailing behind them across a lawn. Close up by PlanitJosh.

Now that the show season is finished for me until Spring, I’m unloading & storing show gear, sorting art, cleaning my studio, and planning new art projects for the winter. I’m so excited to be back at my art table, I have a bad case of Over-Choice on which project to start first! Tomorrow, my first step is to sit with coffee, flick¬†my focus-brain on, and start making a list based on notes and scribbles collected in my planner over the past few months, which I’ll then sort in order of priority. That will begin my¬†map of the next few weeks. How do you sort your studio tasks after a busy season? Clean up first? Listmania? Frequent napping with the cat? ūüôā

Thanks for visiting, and happy art-making from my messy studio to yours!


P.S. You can subscribe to get each new blog post via email here. [ It’s free. ūüôā ]

Art Quote
These things are never fair. People like what they like, and that’s the great and terrible thing. It’s about personal taste, and a certain set of people on a certain day.
~Gabrielle Zevon – The Storied Life of A.J.Fikry


1 thought on “Watercolor: Opuntia (& art show photos from last weekend)”

  1. Pingback: Watercolor: Spearmint Float (& steps towards showing your art) - Belinda Del Pesco

Write something.... pretend we're neighbors, and we’re painting watercolors together in the garden....