Here’s the finished painting I call “Portal,” in a completely different style from any of my Gaian Tarot work. It’s acrylic on canvas, 16″x20″, and it’s the first acrylic painting I’ve ever done. I like it. I learned a lot from it: techniques like dry-brushing, painting over complementary colors, and glazing. I also played around with putting in details with colored pencils and various pens on the top layer. I am thrilled it took me less than a week to complete! If it was a colored pencil painting, it would have taken months.
I like the whimsical magpies and the Tibetan thangka-inspired clouds. I love the Southwest colors. And I love the way the piece roots me right back in Taos.
The painting was inspired by two places in Taos. The first is the entryway to the community room at Mabel Dodge Luhan House. Every day while on retreat, we emerged from our group activities to see prayer flags fluttering in the soft breeze, and the sensual curves of adobe walls. The view through the portal in the painting is of tribal pueblo land, where I took a long walk one day. Magpies were ever-present, and so was the purple sage I loved to inhale. Both found their way into the painting.
I sketched the main elements of the piece in my sketchbook, then spent some time working out the composition. I transferred the linework to the canvas and painted over the pencil lines with blue-violet paint. I also spent some time playing with complementary colors and testing out various color schemes.
Then I painted in the background in complementary colors (except for the magpies and prayer flags). Looks pretty wild, huh?
I drybrushed the blues, violets, and whites of the sky over the orange background. I love how the orange and peach colors peek through the blue.
Then came terra cotta over the deep purple background of the adobe, and dark green over red for the junipers.
Then I painted the pueblo scene you see through the portal.
Here’s a close-up, with prayer flags and magpie painted too.
It feels great to do something so totally different! Stretching the proverbial wings . . . who knows where I’ll fly next?