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Possibly a cottonwood tree leaf.

Pet Lizard Portraits, Big Cow, and Cottonwood Trees

Pet Lizard Portraits are an art form I never thought I’d be doing. But I’ve done two, for two different pets and find that I really enjoy that sort of critter as a subject. There are plenty of artists doing dogs and cats for their owners, but I haven’t seen many advertising to paint/draw pet lizards. Depending on the species, the Ozark pigments can work well for them. Petunia is exclusively Ozark pigments.

A Pet Lizard Portrait of Petunia, the bearded dragon who was my first reptile pet portrait.
Petunia, the Bearded Dragon

But this chameleon needed much brighter colors that I can’t achieve with our local pigments. So I used my Prismacolor Premier and Winsor & Newton pencils to get the effect I was after.

A pet portrait of a chameleon.
A colorful chameleon in colored pencil.

Pet Lizard Portraits

If you have a pet lizard you’d like memorialized in a painting or drawing, please email me for a discussion about the scope of the project and cost. I am open to at least consider any other odd form of pet, as well. Tarantulas and some snakes would work very well in Ozark pigments, and there’s the possibility of combining both pencil and local colors, or just colored pencils to get the desired result.

Cow Portraits

I’ve also found that I enjoy doing cow portraits. One of them is Whisper, a young brahman. The original is the biggest painting I’ve ever done and I recently, finally, got it framed. It’s hard to show just how large the framed painting is without some context, so here’s a photo that includes me standing beside it.

The framed painting of Whisper, with Madison Woods (the artist) for size context.
Whisper and me. The painting features only bone pigments, both black and white from charred and ashed deer bones.

I brought it out to the Downtown Springdale’s first artwalk this past Thursday evening. Melissa Dysart (@pencils2pixels) of Level 5 Architecture invited me to set up at their location on Holcomb Street along with two other artists. It was a lovely evening and I hope to do that again one day.

Cottonwood Trees

There’s a mystery sapling growing down the driveway in a place that it can’t stay. I noticed it for the first time this summer. It can’t have been there long. The whip is pencil thick and it’s about four feet tall. My guess is that it is a first or second year growth. The reason I noticed it at all, other than to note it needed to be cut, was that the leaves are different from any other tree (that I know of) on our property or in the immediate area. So I got curious. I’m always finding plants that need to be identified out here. It’s one of my obsessions, I guess.

Possibly a cottonwood tree leaf.
A leaf from the mystery tree.

I think it’s a cottonwood tree and I LOVE those. So I want to dig it up before it grows too deep a root and move it somewhere better. There’s never been a cottonwood here that I know of, and I’m pretty excited to think now there might be. I think I’ll plant it down by the camper where it will have plenty of room to grow. They get to be very large trees. Plus the creek is nearby and I know it’ll like that, too.

Where did it come from? There are some growing a few miles down the road, and the seeds are dispersed in a milkweed-like fluff, so it’s entirely possible it drifted all the way here. I just wonder why there hasn’t been any before now. And if there are any, how could I have missed them?

Anyway, that’s it for today’s post. I hope you’re enjoying the weather today wherever you are. It feels as if winter is blowing its way into northwest Arkansas right now. If you know anyone with a pet lizard who might like a portrait, send them my way!


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Author/Artist Info
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Madison Woods is a self-taught artist who moved to the Ozarks from south Louisiana in 2005. In 2018 she began experimenting with watercolor painting, using her local pigments. She calls them Paleo Paints, and her artwork features exclusively the lightfast pigments foraged from Madison county, Arkansas. Her inspiration is nature – the beauty, and the inherent cycle of life and death, destruction and regeneration.

Her online portfolio is at www.MadisonWoods.art.

Click here to join her mailing list.

Photo of Madison Woods, artist and Paleo Paint maker, and her social media contact information.
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