Barrel Cactus Close Up

Red Rock Canyon pops with color throughout the year depending upon rainfall. This summer we were blessed with many storms in July. The barrel cactuses had a second blooming season and the desert was glowing with color. These cactuses have gorgeous yellow flowers and it is fun to watch the bees and bugs pollinate them. In this small work series I decided to paint some close up perspectives of the delicate color variations of these flowers. They are subtle yet beautiful. I love to sit among the desert life and feel tranquility. 

Number 5 in the Red Rock Canyon small works series 1 is a close up of a barrel cactus flower. I love the flow of color these flowers have. I used a wet on wet technique with the purple and red shadow sections. The yellow was more controlled. Then, I added colors of tan, orange, blue, and purple on top of the yellow and it allowed for nice layering. I wanted these flowers to leave the viewer with a flow of calmness. I liked this painting so much and decided to make another with a similar idea.

Number 6 in the series is also a close up of the flowers inside a barrel cactus. I used red and blue to create the depth of shadows with a wet on wet technique. I chose to let these colors dry completely before I added the yellow color of the flower. This was a different choice than the other piece of work. As I added the yellow and orange I decided to let it dry, sit, and then layered more orange on top. I used red to detail in the lines of the cactus spines. I tried to recreate the flow of the first painting to leave a feeling of peacefulness. I am pleased to have put my emotions that I felt in the desert into these pieces.


I hope you enjoyed a close up and personal view of these flowers and next time you stop to experience any flower with a closer look. I would love to hear from you about your thoughts on these paintings. My email, Facebook, and Instagram are all on the website at the top. I also have a Contact page and it goes straight to my email. I look forward to hearing from you!

-Karen Hilliard