Dreaming of Warmer Days

I was born and raised in the tropics (Venezuela).  Now, I’m in Missouri, USA.  I really miss the tropical weather in winter!  So, I decided to go to the Missouri Botanical Garden Temperate House, and paint this romantic little scene of vines trailing along a Mediterranean stucco wall.  This is done in soft pastels, en plein air.

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Dreaming of Warmer Days, soft pastel
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Tropical Reprieve

My sister and her family went to Thailand, and both of my nephews (her kids) have had jobs teaching English there.  They took many wonderful photographs of it.  I used one of IMG_0009the photos to do a painting.  I was very charmed by this colorful little house with the bougainvillea growing in front of the dirt path.  Notice there is a primary triad color scheme blue, yellow, red (pink).  This painting is done in acrylic.  I used a warm and cool of each of the primary colors yellow, red, and blue, titanium white, and burnt umber, to make an optical black.  The pigments I used were azo yellow, cadmium yellow medium, cadmium red medium, quinacridone red, ultramarine blue, and phthalocyanine blue.

It was hard to get the correct shade of blue on the roof.  I’m new to acrylics, and am still learning how to account for the color shift.  They turn darker as they dry.  I was happy with the way the sky, distant mountains, and banana tree all came out.  I think the bamboo structure for the bougainvillea is neat as well.

Closeup of Crabapple Tree

I just LOVE spring!  Woohoo!!  I’m so excited that winter is over, and spring is here!  I’ve recently been trying out acrylic paints.  They feel a lot different that oils.  I love the fact that they dry quickly, so I can put another layer on in just 5-10 minutes, instead of waiting a day or two, as with oils.  I’m also reading a book about how to paint in acrylics. This new acrylic adventure is really inspiring me!  This book has lots and lots of new ideas, techniques, and so on.  I realize that I’ve been a very traditional painter up till now, relying only on the most basic of tools and techniques.  That’s fine, because it forces me to learn to draw and paint really well.  However, it was starting to get a tad boring, too.

Here is a painting I did of a crabapple tree in full bloom.  This tree is just a block from my house.  I took a photo of it close up.  My palette is titanium white, cadmium yellow medium, cadmium orange, quinacridone red, quinacridone magenta, perylene violet,

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Crabapple in Full Bloom, acrylic on canvas panel, 16″ x 8″

ultramarine blue, and olive green deep.  I started on a bright yellow toned canvas.  This gives the painting a bright, warm feeling.  I painted a bit looser than my general tendency.  I made a point to allow the yellow underpainting to show through.  I drew the shapes in detail on the dry underpainting, then painted it all in.

The two challenges of acrylics for me, is the fast drying time can make it hard to get a good even blend or gradation, and the color shift.  I spent a lot of time researching how to deal with the color shift.  They tend to dry darker than when you apply them.  I bought some tubes of Winsor Newton the other day because they claim to have no color shift, but there is still a slight color shift.  It’s not a big deal.  I’m learning to make the paint a bit lighter than I want to be before I apply it, and to repaint areas that dry too dark.

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