Cactus Queen: Audience

In my series about my Cactus Queens (read part 1 here if you haven’t seen it yet!) I’d like to introduce you to Cactus Queen: Audience today. The orignal is a 24×26 oil painting on linen panel.

Beautiful Savannah and an unnamed regular visitor to my backyard modeled for this painting.

The original idea to this specific setting dates back a couple years, when the first of my current Cactus Queen series hadn’t been painted yet. I had volunteered to live-paint in a kid’s boutique. I also had just made my first close encounter with javelinas bicycling home in the dark – and setting a new record up that hill after running into them! :D
Those Cactus Queen thoughts were still roaming through my head, and the vision of a Queen holding audience to her following in the midst of her realm was irresistible. It seemed a fitting motif for a demonstration in front of young, open minds.

It turned out to be a success! (There’s nothing like watching kids react to art!!) That demo painting was a slightly hurried acrylic that I loved enough to decide I’d use it as a guideline for a bigger and more refined oil painting. I added the beautiful landscape around Phoenix to my blueprint. I made the model wear my favorite cowboy boots – which were at least a size too big, a miracle she didn’t break a leg…My poor models usually pose in blankets and sheets in my garden in positions that I envisioned. I then put the puzzle pieces together in my head and on my canvas.

It wasn’t hard to obtain a model for her audience. In fact, Javelinas have almost walked into my painting studio before (my studio is accessible only through the garden, adding an extra sense of adventure after dark as we have deer, javelinas, coyotes and potentially bear and mountain lions roaming through our neighborhood. Small town pleasures :)

Folded greeting cards in envelope for your favorite Cactus Queen friend

I hope you enjoy the result – as least as much as the screaming kids loved the first version! The original painting will be displayed in my Cactus Queen Show in the Spotlight Room during October (I’ll be present at 4th Friday and during the Artist Studio Tour Prescott, Oct 4-6. Mountain Artist Guild on 228 N Alarcon).
Prints in all sizes and on various materials are available here and cards on request!

The Making of a Cactus Queen

cactus queens by ans taylor
The assortment of Cactus Queens keeps growing!

During my last shows, I have been often asked about my obscure encounters of prickly plants, beautiful ladies, and Arizona wildlife. So this is the little story about how the first of my ‘Cactus Queens’, was born:

When we had just moved back from Japan with the military we enjoyed a few months in the southern part of the state, before finding our house in the central Arizona mountains. I was delighted to start exploring our new home, which is of course considerably different from my birthplace in Bavaria, Germany (if you’re thinking quaint medieval houses, green vineyards and castles, you’re thinking correctly!).

Inspired by the desert vegetation and wildlife, I started drawing mustangs, wrens and rattlers. During my research for background facts, in the unsought depths of the internet, I stumbled upon an obscure cigarette campaign of the 50s. It portrayed the substantially awkward looking ‘Cactus Queen’, adorned in a spiky barrel-cactus bikini.

You will rarely see an Arizona resident going about their business in a prickly pear skirt.

The campaign seems to have been no success (hmmm!) and the uncomfortable bikini photo motivated little more than an eyebrow raising exercise. The Beauty Queen’s title kept floating in the back of my mind, though.

If you were anything like me as a child, maybe inventing wild fantasy stories to go with the countless princess-drawings you were filling your desktop paper with was one of your favorite past times as well? I was able to sit there for hours, drawing and making up all the characters for my elaborate plots (I am sure the stories were highly innovative and conclusive!)

Mini Ans drawing to escape the reality of 70s wallpapers

This habit sticks to me to this day. I’m painting the stories I make up and I’m making up stories to the things I’m painting. And there’s that mysteriously promising Cactus Queen title stuck in my head….

So a real Cactus Queen, what would she be like? Of course she would be wearing her cacti with pride, and certainly less gingerly than her beauty queen counterpart. A queen of spikes and prickly things, she would be at home between saguaro and prickly pears. A crown of beautiful saguaro flowers adorns her head. Soon cacti began sprouting generously from her hair. Holding audience, she would be courted by the inhabitants of her empire, javelina, coyotes and wrens. And in the background the sculpted pillars of the Sonoran Desert would serve as her audience hall.

The first two Cactus Queens with model Annie. Still somewhat behaved!

And, best of all, painting Cactus queens would enable me to combine the many beauties of the desert and it’s inhabitants in an oil painting!

I hope the fascination of the Arizona desert will grip you and the desert divas will inspire your fantasy…
I’ll continue this series introducing my newest Queens next week, so check back with me :). The largest Cactus Queen currently in work is about 70” and there will be more to come!

Mother’s Day Art Gifts!

mothers day gifts, small original art
Original art: 4×4 humminbirds, oil on canvas for just $60!

Thinking of surprising your Mom with a gift of original art? I am able to offer you an assortment of small oil paintings at affordable prices: a series of colorful and dynamic hummingbirds on cute 4×4 deep edge, gallery wrapped canvas cubes (painted on the sides), each for only $60.
If you want to go a little bigger and more diverse, I can also offer you 6×6 canvas cubes (also painted on the sides) with various of our amazing Arizona birds and critters, for only $125 each.
These are original pieces of art, friends!

Original paintings, 6×6, oil on canvas, for just $ 125!

For the sake of Mother’s Day I’m throwing in a gift of two of my art cards of your choice of with each painting order.
My brand new folded Art Cards with envelope are available at $4 each, or $3 each for a set of 10 cards or more.
It’s not too late to order for Mother’s Day if you are quick – send me an email right now and inquire about your wish motive and see whats available, or ask about a specific animal. Email me and check!
For your information, an insured medium flat ratebox is $17, and there’s a lot of space for small art in it :)

Look at my fancy new greeting card display! It will be representing with me at a Prescott Art Fair on June 15 next!

‘Best of Show’ for painting ‘Rahab’!

Great news on Friday at the Mountain Artist Guild: Was totally smitten that ‘Rahab’ won Best Of Show at the Mountain Artist Guild  ‘Heritage’ show. This painting was a special love child to me, as I was inspired by a study by Beth Moore, to feel myself into the chutzpah of this historical lady! She is mentioned in Joshua 2 somewhat fleetingly, but the story behind it would actually make for an enthralling book by itself. The heritage started by her commitment is also a story of some beauty 😍

Thank you MAG! This made my day yesterday! Both original painting (oil on linen) and high quality greeting cards are currently available at the Mountain Artist Gallery on 228 N Alarcon, Prescott (they offer a special price, so swing by). Gliclee ART PRINTS are available HERE! (click for link)

Read more about her below.

The Heritage of Rahab

‘Rahab clung to the red scarf flying in the desert wind in front of her window. Her family was huddled in the small room behind her, scared: They had all heard the deep rumbling of the walls of Jericho crashing down, the screams of the dying, and the fighting outside.

All of them were aware that the scarlet band tied to the wood beam on the outside was the only thing saving them from death…’

When the prostitute Rahab made the decision to hide the Israelite spies and trust in their promise to spare her family, she couldn’t know the heritage that would be founded in her trust.

A woman of former bad career choices, survivor of an annihilated people, she would become wife to the Israelite Salmon. Their son Obed would be known thousands of generations later by the book named after his sweet wife ‘Ruth’. Her grandson would father a king, called David, king of Judah, revered across the nations.

Nor would she have ever dreamed that generations down her grand grand grand…child, Joseph, would be the earthly father of a child called – Jesus.

This all happened to the woman who took heart and stepped out of the rubble of Jericho.

(Joshua 2; Matthew 1:5)

April Show at Random Art!

Ready for spring? I surely am!
I have been frantically painting for two months, and am looking forward to sharing some results with you :)

But first an Events update:
As some might know, the Dawson May show has been cancelled. Too bad – but I’ll be at a couple other events! Locked in are:

Several of my new paintings plus brand new art cards will be displayed during the month of April at Random Art, Prescott. If you have never been there, Allison Kantor’s crazy quirky gallery is a must see! I’ll be there on the 4th Friday Art Walk, April 26 from 5-7 pm. Join us for snacks, beverages, a chat and a good time!

4th Friday April 26, Art Walk
Ans at Allison Kantor’s Random Art
214 N McCormick St, Prescott, AZ 86301

I also have some specials planned for the Artist Studio Tour in October. I’ll be at the Mountain Artist Guild again, but will inhabit the Spotlight room in the gallery upstairs with my art :) yay to that! Stay tuned for further events (June / October).

I’ll write about updates in my art print and originals gallery in a few days.

Enjoy the beginning of spring!


PS: Follow me on Instagram to see new paintings, making of photos, plein air pics and current updates 5 times a week! :) I’d also love to hear your feedback!

Allison Kantor’s Art Gallery is filled with incredible art from oil paintings to the famous “Prescott Pot Heads ™.” Random Art is open during 4th Friday Art Walks from 5 – 8 pm, Wednesdays, and Randomly thereafter. for more info


sonoran desert sunset oil painting

Sonoran Sun to help you stay cozy

sonoran desert sunset oil paintingI’m not sure how your neck of the woods looks like, but on our little central Arizona mountain (5800 feet) the temperatures are sure on the chilly side this Febuary! We still have half an inch of hail from the last winterstorm on our deck. Luckily, the Valley is only a two hour ride downhill, and the desert around Phoenix shows itself from its best side: everything has a fresh green shine to it, and countless bushes are blooming. I am lucky to enjoy an escape south twice this week, visiting art shows and sitting for a friend (more of that later!).
If you’re less lucky in this regard, I offer you a sunny glow on canvas that will hopefully lighten your day! :) This oil painting was started after a visit to the Sonoran Desert near Tucson. We witnessed an amazing sunset, and I had a chance to take countless reference photos. After letting the painting sit for a spell, to come back and finish the last details with fresh eyes, it is now finished. I hope you like it! The original will soon be available in the shop, as well as prints on canvas, metal or paper.
I have some exciting news about new works soon as well! :)

Stay warm!

Off to Germany!

I’m lucky to be able to visit my family in Germany and Austria for the next 17 days! :) Of course my flight out of our tiny airport in the Arizona mountains is scheduled for the day after the most massive snowfall since 2016 (and that means about 10-12 inch in the pines, if you wonder – which accounts for 6 foot on Arizona roads :D).
Presuming I made it out of town, this post will probably find me in the air zooming across the big pond, happily expecting to hug parents and sis soon.
While I’m traveling, the print shop will run as usual. Just notice: any purchased originals will not be sent out before January 20!

Prints are business as usual. Email me if you have a question! :) And follow me on instagram @anstaylorart for a few photos of my original home country.
Stay warm! :)
And see you soon! 

Hop into 2019

I’m wishing you a safe hop into a promising and successful new year full of inspiration and new impulses!

2018 was quite a year for me: I usually painted 30 hours/week aside from working 4 days in the tattoo shop. I met so many amazing new people in both trades. I found out what ‘plein air painting’ is, had my 1 year of portrait painting in October, and my first show. I can’t tell how excited I am to build on this base in 2019! 

My year will start with 18 days without oils – visiting my family in Germany, the one thing that’s more important than paints (my loved ones all over).  

I hope you have time to spend with yourself and your loved ones ‘between the years’.

Notice: since I’ll be traveling any purchased originals will not be sent out before January 20! Prints will be sent out as normal. Email me if you have a question!

Happy New year!

Christmas card by and Taylor

Merry Christmas!

Christmas card by and Taylor I wish you a wonderful Christmas time full of light! Do you have a chance to spend the celebration with your loved ones? I hope you have opportunity to recharge your batteries and enjoy your family – or friends that are like it! :)

I truly wish you that between the hustle and bustle you will have a moment to breathe and remember the reason for the season, hug your spouse or kid and resist the urge to throw a Christmas wreath at some speaker blaring ‘xmas beats’. 😜

I always miss my family in Europe most this time of the year – together with our traditional gathering. We are a small, but close-knit bunch, and on Christmas evenings there was always a lot of reminiscing, stories of all the travels we did every year (simple campers!), jokes and laughter! Do you have the same type of family come-togethers?

I’m looking forward to seeing them soon this time around! While I’m traveling Europe in January, no original paintings will be shipped out – please note that you’ll have to wait until January 21 for my originals to be moving again!

Prints are available as usual though.

Enjoy the holidays and shine your light :) See you in an exciting new year!

A Life and Death Dare

Have you heard the story of Rahab?  Don’t miss out on a Christmas fairy-tale-ending to a harsh historic reality:

– Rahab had to jump up and check on the blood red scarf flying in the dry desert wind in front of her window. The eyes of her family huddled in the small room behind her followed her, the glow of a small oil lamp reflecting off their scared faces. They had felt the deep rumbling of the walls crashing down in their bones. They had listened to the sounds of the massacre and the screams of the dying outside. All of them were aware that the scarlet band tied to the wood beams on the outside was the only thing saving them from death.

Rahab had to touch and grab the silken red rope and tried to calm her hammering heart. Yet, that band of trust kept her from trying to run and flee…

Rahab surely was what some would call a ‘soiled dove’, a woman of wrong career decisions. But just a few days ago, she had made a daring decision that would impact her family for generations to come: Two strangers showed up to lodge in her house. They were peculiar looking fellows with unusual hair styles and foreign clothes. Even though they tried to act inconspicuously, Rahab knew immediately who they were: spies of the invading force from the southeastern desert. The market place was teeming with rumors about these mysterious people – they walked with fire and commanded even the waters! The whole city was in an uproar bordering on panic, the guards checked all defenses – not that the massive walls had ever been breached!

Rahab had noticed she wasn’t the only one who scrutinized the strangers. After they had wolfed down her simple bar food as if they’ve never had a prepared meal, she carefully ushered them into the back room where she usually conducted her business. Her legs felt wobbly as she motioned them out the trap door onto the flat roof. Fully aware of the risk, she had decided to hide and help them. The deep, unsettling notion of fear that she hadn’t been able to shake off the last days had boiled to the surface and driven her to action. She had rolled her dice, and it felt like relief.

No sooner had she hidden her two guests under the stalks of drying flax and discreetly entered her small bar room again, that the door flew open. Two members of the King’s guard barged in. While they were questioning her about the strangers, she studiously kept her voice even. She hoped they wouldn’t notice her flushed cheeks and her racing heart. But they believed her lies and set off in pursuit, assuming the spies had escaped before the gates closed.

She slipped back onto the roof and found her visitors settling down for the night. Quickly she told them the plans of the guards, and recommended an alternate escape route. Then she took a deep breath. ‘I know who you are’, she said, looking them straight in the eye,’ and I have heard of your people and your protector’, and she confided her convictions to them. She bravely demanded that they spare her and her family when they would return with their army, since she had saved their lives. They agreed and promised that every one who would hide under her roof would be save when they came to take the city. The red silk scarf she provided to let them climb down the wall from her window would also serve to mark her house. And that was the last she had seen and heard of them – until now.

A loud bang on the door seemed to echo like thunder through the silence after the fighting. Her mom shrieked and her youngest sister couldn’t suppress a sob. With shaky fingers Rahab opened the door. Surely the promise of the spies and the One whose name they came in was faithful..?

In the street stood a number of men, one of them she recognized as the visitor she had saved. ‘Peace! You are safe’, he greeted her in his strange accent. ‘Lead your family out to follow us to our camp. This city is no more.’

Looking back years later, Rahab, the dark stain of the family, marveled that she would have never anticipated living an entirely new life in the midst of this unusual people under the One she had acknowledged as ruler of heaven and earthly powers – nor falling in love and becoming the respected wife to such an admirable man, Salmon. Nor did she know then that her son Obed would be one of the main figures in the wonderful story that is written down in the book called ‘Ruth’. Or that her grandson would father a king, called David, king of Judah.

Nor would she have ever dreamed that generations down her grand grand…child Joseph would be the earthly father of a child called Jesus.

This all happened to the woman who took heart and stepped out of the rubble of Jericho.

Merry Christmas to all of us Rahabs!

Joshua 2; Matthew 1:5

Oil on Linnen, 16×20″.
Inspired by the “Believing God’ study by Beth Moore