Centerpiece I: Prickly Pear and Desert Willow

oil painting of prickly pear and desert willow

So if you follow my work, you know that for a while now I’ve been painting still life objects with landscape behind them. Sometimes patterned cloth emphasizes the division of space.

Centerpiece I - Prickly Pear and Desert Willow painting
Centerpiece I: Prickly Pear and Desert Willow, oil on linen, 16x12in © Jean Reece Wilkey

In my latest effort the table stretches out ahead of the viewer like an infinity swimming pool. The cactus centerpiece gives way to a desert vista.

I walk my dogs daily in the arroyo near my home and this spring there was such a profusion of cactus blooms. This piece comes from the idea that we desert dwellers, like those who live elsewhere, buy imported flowers to adorn our tables. Meanwhile there are perfectly lovely flowers all around us, although they bloom for only a brief time.

Also, if you’re an artist living in the desert, it seems almost a requirement to paint a prickly pear cactus at some point in your career. Here I’ve paired a Prickly Pear in bloom with flowers from the Desert Willow. Both are native to New Mexico. I am not.

Unsettled Gallery will show this painting as part of the Wide Bay High Desert II show – the cultural exchange between Las Cruces, New Mexico and Bundaberg, Queensland in Australia. It opens in both venues in late August.

Click over to the Wide Bay High Desert blog where you can read more about the ideas behind the work and see what other participants are creating.

And if you like seeing step-by-step shots of paintings in progress, sign up for my monthly newsletter that also has news and more about what’s happening in the studio.

One Reply to “Centerpiece I: Prickly Pear and Desert Willow”

  1. […] this painting I continued the idea I was exploring in Centerpiece I and Centerpiece II; that we appropriate elements from nature for our own uses. But if the other […]

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