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Harriman's Yucca

Yucca harrimaniae

I love the American West. On one of many exploratory hikes in my home state of Colorado, this yucca caught my eye. Upright in full bloom, it was stunning in its red canyon landscape. I wanted to paint an iconic western plant and this resilient yucca made a bold visual statement.

My approach to painting botanical subjects with realism is oddly abstract. Shape, value, color and texture considerations are foremost in the subjects I choose. This Yucca harrimaniae species has the visual contrast I like to illustrate. Its spike of purple-tinged, creamy, round flowers stands against a jagged mound of narrow, pointed, stiff leaves. I built the composition on vertical symmetry to reinforce its statuesque quality. My biggest challenge in its portrayal was to clarify the mass of overlapping leaves entangled in curling fibers. 

My watercolor paintings appear very loose at the start. Working wet-on-wet, I try to establish large shapes with few, swift, intentional strokes. The heavy, 300-pound, watercolor paper I use withstands aggressive use of water and paint; it allows me to blend, guide and lift pigment easily. I reserve dry brush techniques for detail, during the final stages of painting refinement.

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Yucca harrimaniae

Harriman's Yucca

watercolor and graphite on paper

16 x 12

©2017 Constance Sayas

2024 ASBA - All rights reserved

All artwork copyrighted by the artist. Copying, saving, reposting, or republishing of artwork prohibited without express permission of the artist.

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