Monday, January 16, 2012

Works in Progress

The first photo is a sketch from my sketchbook project "The Writing on the Wall".  I'm going to keep plugging on with these because they're lots of fun, but meeting the deadline by the end of the month seems pretty hopeless given all that's on my plate.  Maybe I'll take a day or two off of all my volunteer projects to see what I can get finished in the art domain.

Apulo, El Salvador
2007. Apulo, El Salvador is on the shore of Lake Ilopango.  Heavy rains washed debris and homes into the river that feeds the lake, displacing people and flooding the town's lower regions.  Homes filled with water and residents barricaded their doorways to prevent additional water and mud from entering.

Egress from the lake was blocked by landslides caused by the 2001 earthquake and 2005 Hurricane Stan.  Now, since a major hotel chain is building a resort on one of the islands, the government has a project to unblock the lake's egress.

El Salvador is well represented in my sketchbook, because I lead service-learning trips for teens and adults to visit and work in projects supported by the Palo Alto (California) Quaker Meeting.  The cooperative that we support in Apulo runs a sweat-equity project for people who have been displaced by flooding and a Saturday tutoring program for kids.  Next trip is July 21-August 5, 2012.  If you are interested in more information, drop me a comment at

Nopales at Sunset

The second photo is of a watercolor in progress.  I love the photos I've seen of these nopales at sunset.  I'm experimenting with color blending in each leaf and am happy with the result.  I'm still working out how to get the deep shadows between the leaves.  I like the way the sky and background hills are turning out and am hoping that when I get to blending the background and foreground that I don't ruin the whole thing!    There are lots of finishing touches at the end, adding needles and the scars that these cacti typically get.  This painting is on a 9x12 100 lb cold press block.(Arches).  I'd love to try a big one on 300 lb paper and include the red prickly pear fruits!


Sandy Coleman said...

Lovely watercolors. I admire anyone who can make watercolors behave.

Barbara B said...

Thank you, Sandy. I thought I had seen some watercolor among your gorgeous work, no?

Dan Kent said...

I just love the cactus! Just as it is, in fact.

The pages are lively and fun. Hope you finish!

Patricia said...

Hi. I came to your site CIA your comment in my blog (thanks for stopping by). I LOVE your sketchbook paintings.

Patricia said...

Via your comment. Let's keep the CIA out of this.

Alex said...

Nopales at sunset looks gorgeous!

Cathy Holtom said...

I hope you don't give up, it looks great!
(Stick a few pages together if you run out of time)

Colleen said...

Your sketchbook looks great so far! I finished mine a couple weeks ago, it was quite the race indeed!

I love the cacti and am looking forward to seeing it finished.:)

Minerva said...

Hi Barbara, thank you for your comments. I look forward to seeing the nopales watercolour finished!

Postcards from Wildwood said...

Hello Barbara, My first visit to your blog. Thank you for visiting mine and for your lovely comment.

Your sketchbook project is very interesting. I don't know what the deadline, etc is - an online challenge, I suppose? But your paintings are lovely and the topics clearly have such personal meaning. I identify very much with your being intrigued by the place where Spirit and creativity meet. Hope you managed to find time to keep at it during the week!