My husband and I love walking around the desert searching for pine cones. While we hunt, he looks for cones filled with pine nuts, however, does not find them. Scattered on the ground are older and younger cones that have fallen off their tree at different times. I love to see the different ages of the pinecones. Once in a while, we find one by itself along the trail probably blown by the wind. I decided Number 7 in the series would be one of these treasures.

I painted from the center outward and the paintbrush took on a life of its own. The painting ended up being a zoomed in version of the object. I used blues, browns, and a bit of yellow ochre for highlights. I left the whites with my paintbrush by painting the space around them. The light areas are to represent sand and debris that flew, and stuck into the cone. This painting took quite a long time and I had to keep telling myself to stick with it. When I finally completed it, I loved the perspective, and decided to do another.

Number 8 was going to be a farther away version and it ended up being even closer than the first. I don’t draw a pencil sketch before I start so some paintings are enlarged more than others. In this piece I used more brown and blue and very little burnt sienna for the center of the painting. I am very pleased that I decided to make two of these because I really like how they look together. My husband and I get very excited when we see pinecones on trails and then spend time reminiscing about our very special day.

As I worked on these paintings, my mind drifted to the months before our wedding day and the wedding itself. We chose to have pine cones in our wedding bouquets and boutonnières. This painting reminded me of all the happy moments of drawing ideas out with my dearest friend Andrew, hunting for pine cones, and the smile on my husband’s face while we were making wedding decorations with his family. I am thankful that my mind can drift while I paint and I am able to add my emotions into each piece of art. I hope you enjoyed these paintings, and getting to know me a little bit more. If you would like to share any special memories you have, please email me. I would love to hear about them!

-Karen Hilliard