In my ongoing ‘Cactus Queen’ and ‘Ranch’ series I had been giving the West a whimsical spin, portraying the critters and people of the Southwest from a unique viewpoint, yet in a realistic style. Parallel I was developing my ‘Helos’ series of large format hummingbirds, combining realistic detail, bold brush-strokes and bright colors, which left me a lot of freedom to explore form and color in a more purely aesthetic, contemporary way. As I was pondering new paintings, I was inclined to find a way to combine bright color schemes with my figurative art. In my mind’s eye I was laying my desired sea foam blues and greens over my motif… and suddenly I could vividly imagine the blues and greens of the sea washing over the Wild West themes. Bubbles started rising from my portrayed participants and filtered sunlight shone from the surface. Once the idea was conceived, it couldn’t be unseen. I was almost shocked at how much the vegetation and rocky sand bottom of the Sonoran Desert looks like an underwater landscape! Could there be a better invitation to go and run with the theme? I was tickled by all the implications and options to paint the High Tide at High Noon. I indulged in a series of three, including floating buffalos and bobcat and bunny bubbling through the seas, and many more ideas waiting.
These paintings are an expression of joy and imagination, of the playful use of colors and themes, and about not taking things too seriously.
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