Drawing to the end of August 2021 and southern Arizona has experienced a magnificent Monsoon. Rainfall has exceed our annual rainfall in just one month. At the end of July, after 18 months of almost no rain, the desert had dried and the natural world seemed dead. We braced for a repeat performance of last year with summer temperatures over 100F for over 100 days. But then the rains came. Almost over night the desert greened, cactus bloomed and the wonderful smell of the creosote bush engulfed the humid atmosphere. A while later butterflies of all description appeared. This, the Queen, is often confused with the Monarch butterfly and indeed it is similar, even enjoying milkweed to lay its eggs. This particular butterfly found a safe place to perch on my bird fountain. The calcified edge created enough texture for it’s legs to grasp the edge and sip at the damp surface of the pot.
As the US Capitol fell to rioters wielding confederate flags, I was leaving the Tohono Chul botanical gardens in Tucson. Blissfully unaware of the momentous happenings across the country, I spotted a huge, aged cholla. Most of its limbs had been pruned away. A single withered green leaf basked in the sun, while a bleached paddle rose defiantly from a dead limb. A younger plant grew along side, sheltered by this wizened parent.
A metaphor perhaps….
I completed this watercolor at home from a photo taken on Dec 6, 2021. 11″ x 8″, 300lb rough cold pressed paper
Sometimes an experience is so intense that capturing it needs time and multiple dimensions
Walking in the desert as sunset approaches is a magical time. Dead chollas glow as the late sun penetrates their thorny skeleton. I stood for a while marveling at their “aliveness”. I dreamt of being able to capture the moment. Words as well as images flooded my brain. I conjoured with words all the way home. Juggling reality, emotion and timefulness. As soon as I got home I scribbled words in my sketch book and let the thought of painting incubate for a while.
I’d be interested in your opinions regarding putting haiku verse on the painting. What does it add, does it distract?