"Cholla" 8x10 inches, oil on canvas panel
My palette for this piece was cadmium yellow light, cadmium orange, cadmium red light, alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue, viridian hue (Holbein).
I started off by blocking in the shadow areas of the cactus, paying close attention to where light areas would be, to negative space, and to the overall structure. I went with a medium-dark tone, a little on the cool side, and saved the darker, warmer accents for around the base of the cactus.
The light areas were added with a medium-light green, dipping my brush into orange and red now and then for variety. Highlights were then placed with a fresh brush, and the original mid-light green was painted back over it, leaving a halo of light around each section of cactus. It was a back-and-forth kind of thing. I had about 5 brushes in my hand: a cool dark green, medium-light green, bright yellow highlight color, muted warm purple (ground color), and darkest warm shadow color.
This is a quick gouache that I painted from up by Governor Hunt's Tomb, after painting the cholla cactus. The light was starting to get flat, and I didn't paint too long. Maybe 20 minutes. This painting features Hole-In-The-Rock (A local natural attraction) and Camelback Mountain in the distance.
I painted this with a limited palette of white, lemon yellow, burnt sienna, and ultramarine blue.