"Symphony in Gold"
Triptych, 10 x 8, 10 x 20, & 10 x 10" respectively
Overall Size: 10 x 38"
Acrylic on Cradled Board
Hooded Orioles & Verdin on Aloe Vera
This piece will be available from The Arizona-Sonora Desert Musuem's Ironwood Gallery during the Colors of Cabo Pulmo, running from January 20th through April 8th, 2018. Interested parties should contact the venue directly at (520) 883-3024. Visit the gallery online by clicking
How to Buy, General Information
When I was in Cabo Pulmo, I was terribly excited to find a large swath of aloe Vera in full bloom in front of one of the local restaurants, not so much for the flowers, though they were certainly beautiful by themselves, but for the constant string of avian visitors they were attracting. I began photographing the obvious candidates first, the colorful and charismatic Hooded Orioles, as they bickered with one another over the choicest blooms and hung in positions of varying degrees of acrobatic proficiency to access the abundant nectar. The males stood out for their luminous orangey-gold and black plumage while the females were just as beautiful in their subtler shades of yellow and olive. As I watched, however, I began to notice other actors in this colorful drama, namely the tiny, gem-like Verdins with their round grey bodies and gold-crowned heads. Mindful of the larger and more aggressive Orioles, they would dip and dive furtively amongst the stems and blooms, taking their own delicate sips of much-needed flower fuel.
A painting began to take shape in my mind immediately, and color, needless to say, was to take center stage. The leaves of many succulents, including aloe, tend to blush bronze, red, or violet when grown in constant high light and with minimal moisture, and this sea of aloes was no exception. Their torch-like gold and acid-yellow blooms looked spectacular against the backdrop of purple-tinged leaves, a color palette which I exaggerated and developed into the primary color story of the painting. As I watched this scene unfold, I listened to a constant background chittering, chattering, and singing of birds, and I resolved that this musical quality would likewise become an integral part of the piece. I decided to break up the scene into a triptych to emphasize the multitudinous vignettes happening throughout the aloe garden, and I used the verticals slashes of highly saturated yellow to divide the long, linear, narrative composition like musical notes on a page. The result is a painting that captures, in a series of individual, yet thoroughly connected stories, a broader picture of the relationship between plant and animal in the unique and beautiful setting that is the subject of the exhibition, “Colors of Cabo Pulmo.”