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Oregon "Passionflower" #2.

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When I was taking a walk the other day, I came upon a lovely site which I had never before seen even though I have hiked there more times than I can count over the past several years. Luckily I had my camera on me. ;D There was a humongous dark purple flower, which resembled a passionflower in full bloom. I could not believe my eyes. It was gorgeous! The light wasn’t the best, because it was the middle of the day, but I snapped some photos anyway.

Oregon “Passionflower” #3


I was so excited that I went back later towards evening when the light was better to get more pictures. Lighting really made a difference. (I’ve posted both sets so you can see why it is best to take photos in the morning or the evening.) During the middle of the day the light comes down at a 90 degree angle, or close to it, causing photos to look flat and uninteresting.

Notice in photos 8, 9, and 10 how the light draws the attention to the flower rather than the background. I also makes the flower more rounded and 3 dimensional.

Oregon "Passionflower" #4

It’s a mystery to me what kind of flower this is, although I assume it is some sort of native species. It grew in almost full shade and the flower was about 6 inches or more tall. While I was out taking the second set of pictures, I bumped into the man who owns the adjacent property . He did not know what it is either, but said he used to have a bunch of them behind his garage–but pulled them out because they stink really bad. I could not smell anything and am thinking I wouldn’t mind having some in my yard a good distance from the house (just in case they DO smell LOL). Perhaps it is a relative of the skunk cabbage? I’m not sure because they grow in more marshy areas and you almost always smell those long before you see them. These were on a hill high and dry.

Oregon Passionflower #6

Oregon "Passionflower" #6

Whatever they are, apparently the reason I had never seen one despite the frequency of my walks down this particular trail is because it does not bloom very long. Less than 2 days after I took these pictures the bloom had died. Within a week the entire plant died back and the spot is now covered in morning glory instead. I’m glad I happened to take a walk down that way when my mystery flower was blossoming.

Oregon "Passionflower" #7



Several days later I went to my friend’s house for an art day again. My friend worked on some miniature sculptures, and I decided to paint a picture of my Oregon “passion flower” from memory. Working entirely from memory is one of the exercises suggested in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, by Betty Edwards. For those who would like to learn to draw or increase their drawing skills, I would highly recommend getting a copy.

Oregon "Passionflower" #8

Entitled “Oregon ‘Passionflower’ Memory.” my painting is watercolor on paper 11×15.” skipping a pencil sketch, I started painting a translucent minty green glaze around the flower. I had intended to paint in the dark green foliage behind the flower as well, but liked the transparent glaze so well that I left it that way in the end. Next I painted in the fuchsia of the flower, leaving some lighter areas and adding some yellow highlights. Then I used purple for the stamen and the shading. As a finishing touch I painted the stem a minty green with fuchsia and purple shadows, repeating those colors with a light glaze in the corners.

Oregon "Passionflower" #9

Oregon "Passionflower" #10

Oregon Passionflower memory, watercolor 11X15

Oregon "Passionflower" memory, watercolor 11X15"

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self portrait #1One of the contests, on Artist magazines art forum, which I entered this past year was a timed self portrait: 3o minutes to do a portrait of yourself in front of the bathroom mirror. I have done self portraits before, but never with a time limit like that. It was extremely challenging. Trying to hold the same position while looking back and forth between the mirror and my paper added to the difficulty.

I started with some colored paper I had on hand and tried doing a limited palette sketch with black, white, and one other color– in this case–brown, (also an exercise in the book Drawing on the Right side of the Brain, by Betty Edwards, which I highly recommend for anyone who wants to learn to draw or improve their drawing skills). I chose a lavender colored paper because I like purple and I thought it would be fun to let the color of the paper be my eye color. It took me quite a bit of time to get set up the way I wanted with tousling my hair just so (hey I am vain. LOL 😉 ) I think I actually spent almost as much time preparing as I did working on the portrait! At first I hated it. I thought it made me look like some kind of ghoul. Nothing eats at self image like a self portrait that does not go well. It had more Grey in the paper than what I was counting on, and it took me an hour to compete. After a week or two I decided I kind of liked it, but only when the light hits it just right so the paper does not look so gray. I did one other colored pencil on yellow paper, because I thought that would bring out the colors of my blond hair. I did get that one done in less time, but I liked it even less than the first, so I am not posting it here.

I decided make my next attempt to meet the time limit in Watercolors. In order toportrait #4 (unfinished)t in time, I skipped making a preliminary sketch in pencil and instead drew directly with the paint brush. another thing that saved time was choosing a limited pallet of three colors, one being the color for my hair, the other for the skin tones and one for the eyes and sweater. It does not exactly look like me, but It was done on time and I do like it. I especially like the glow in the skin tones down around my neck. the time constraints did cause some difficulty though because it forced me to work wet on wet in areas that would have been better if they’d had time to dry first. complete i

Encouraged by the third portrait, I decided to try yet again. Using similar techniques I tried to get a better match for my hair color. when the 3o minutes were up I still had not addedself portrait #4 the eyes, lips, or background. It took another 15 minutes to complete, reminding me of some of picasso’s work, although that wasn’t really what I had intended.

Undaunted , I decided to try one last time. while completing this one I had music running through my head that was reminiscent of mission impossible the whole way through reminiscent of my do or die attitude on this one. I used the same process as the others, forcing myself to be optimistic and trying not to look at the timer too much. I did get this last and 5th attempt done within the time requirements, i like it, and i do think it at least resembles me somewhat.

When I showed self portrait #5them to my husband and asked him what he thought , he said it reminded him of a free writing exercise in which the author writes whatever comes to mind for 1/2 an hour and then evaluates it later to see what is going on in the subconscious. I liked that comparison. It was interesting to see how different each painting turned out in conjunction with how I was feeling at the time…

Although I did not win the competition, I do feel like I learned about myself and improved my skills in the process. The winner did their sketch in ink and then used a wet brush to bleed the ink for the shading. That’s intriguing. I’ll have to try that sometime.

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