Monday, October 8, 2018

Wild Papaya

Papayas are growing in wild abundance in the Florida Keys

And they are PERFECT for painting!

About 4 months after Hurricane Irma, papaya plants started to spring up everywhere in my neighborhood as well as others.

They are a super interesting plant. There's a male plant and a female plant.  The male plant has the flowers and the female plant has the fruit. And there are different varieties growing.

In my yard I have lots of male plants and only two female plants. And what's interesting is the two females have different kinds of papayas on them. One has small pear shaped fruit and the other more oblong fruit.

I've been admiring them for months and finally got around to painting them, (after taking tons of photos)

This is a male plant. The flowers are starburst clusters on long stems.

However, I did not paint them from the photos. I took the leaves, the fruit and the flowers into my studio and painted directly from my observation of them.

I had so much fun painting one, that I did a second one.

Each painting started on one of my "complicated backgrounds"  where I put thin layers of multiple colors all over the canvas.

Here's the set up for the first one.

You can see what I mean about a complicated background painting.

I think it's beautiful and amazing that the interior is in the shape of a star.

Detail: you can see where I'm using paint lines to sketch in the fruit.

Detail: I'm starting to add some greens to the leaves.

Here are the finished paintings

Wild Papayas no.1

Wild Papayas no.1
 30" x 24", acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas, 2018

Wild Papayas no.2

Wild Papayas no.2
24' x 18", acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas, 2018

I'm not sure I'm finished with this series yet.  I think I want to paint one with a red background.  The challenge for that would be to not make it look too Christmas-y, with the green leaves.  I like a challenge

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All for now, have a lovely day.

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Maggie Ruley is a studio artist living in Key West, Florida. Her studio and gallery, Island Inspirations, showcases her artwork and is a creative learning center for her students.

When she's not in the studio, you can find her volunteering with local non-profit arts organizations, teaching classes and workshops, or at the beach.
Her colorful paintings and tropical pottery are collected world wide and can be found in many island homes. She has been featured in the Key West Citizen, the New York Daily News , and other publications.

Her handmade ceramic flip flops have been sold in gift shops all along the east coast and in California and Hawaii.

Her studio and gallery is located in the Historic Seaport area of Old Town Key West.
Maggie Ruley~Island Inspirations
933b Fleming St.
Key West Florida 33042

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