|RED SKY CACTUS by Alan Krug|
A cactus to begin with is already abstract. If you have ever actually studied one, it is amazing how they grow and the shapes they take. Oftentimes they make no sense and you wonder, how did it grow like that? Maybe its this simple fact that makes them so intriguing. You start off with an abstract object and then just go from there.
I continued building up the greens from the black green base adding lighter and lighter greens, some yellow green, some blue green to give depth and form to the main branch and its many pods. Some were flowering but already the majority had bloomed and the flowers had dropped off. The dots of brownish red were home to the growing needles. A slash of cream added with the palette knife formed their lethal needles but rather than creating too many, I added just enough to signify it was definitely was not something you would want to touch.
As a counterpoint to the diagonal green of the cactus, the red sky was darker in the upper left and grew lighter by the lower right. Alizarin Red, then Napthol Red, then Vermillion and finally orange were palette blended to counterpoint the green and pick up the flower colors. By carrying the painting to the sides I've created a painting that can or doesn't need to have a frame. It is a compact 12" x 12" x 1/2" painting but seems larger due to the bold colors and contrast between the warm and cool colors. It is, I hope, part of a new series of cactus paintings with a more colorful and less structured design. A series of the heart rather than of the mind.
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