Muny Gazebo in Forest Park

I LOVE spring!  It is a wonderful time to paint outdoors.  Today was a sunny, warm, breezy day.  My husband doesn’t go to work until 3 PM, so he came with me, and we went to Forest Park in St. Louis to paint the gazebo in front of the Muny in Forest Park, which is an outdoor theatre.

I had already decided to do this one in 2 sessions, instead of just 1, because the subject matter is intricate and complex.  I love older architecture, and this one is Victorian, and has lots of very cool details.  I enjoy showing the details in older architecture.  St Louis has much older Victorian architecture.  My goal for today, which I achieved, was to get a good detailed drawing of my subject.

When I first got there, I chose a spot where there was sunlight on one side and shadow

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Muny Gazebo, pastel, 14″ x 18″

on the other.  This makes for a more interesting composition.  At first I was just going to have the gazebo fill in most of the space, but then I decided to put it further back and include the bridge to the right as well.  This way, I would have a wide expanse of water with the reflections, and sky, and this would make it nicer.  We were blessed in that there was a park bench under some shady trees, so we sat on that.

I used my iphone to take a shot of it, just to establish the first few lines.  I have a tendency otherwise to lose my composition and drift off the page.  Then I built everything else on those first lines.  The first thing I did was establish the horizon, which was 5/8 (golden ration) of the way down from the top.  Then, I got the lines of the shore, the island, the basic outline of the gazebo, and the bridge.  I put my phone away and did the rest just from sight.  I have a view finder, but I need a stand or tripod or something to hold it stationary.  It’s a pain to have to keep holding it up over and over, and finding the same view each time.

I plan to go back on Thursday, because tomorrow it’s supposed to rain. One thing about the midwest, is it’s a challenge to spend more than 1 day on a plein air painting, because the conditions are so different from day to day.  At least I’m not trying to paint something that will change very fast, like flowers, or blooming trees.  Stay tuned for my next session on this one!

Pastel Painting Garden Serenade

IMG_0005Here is a piece I painted last winter with a painting buddy at the Missouri Botanical Garden.  Since it was cold outside, we decided to paint at the temperate house.  I was very drawn to this lovely bronze statue of a little boy playing the recorder.  I have 2 sons, and for some reason this one reminds me of my younger son Andrew.  There is something about the tilt of his head, and his general demeanor that reminds me of Andrew.  I love how he is reflected in the pond, along with some of the greenery growing around him.

My Mom will be Thrilled

The Bevo Mill is a landmark building in St Louis Missouri.  My great grandfather on my mom’s side built it.  It was her father’s father.  His name was Louis Henry Grone.  He came over from Germany.  He also owned a small beer brewery in an underground

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Bevo Mill, 16″ x 20″, oil on canvas panel

cavern in St Louis as well.

As the store goes, my great grandpa built this for Auggie Busch, the man who founded Anheuser Busch as a stopping place to eat, drink, and rest while he was on his way to his farm in the country. (Grant’s farm)  Every week, Mr. Grone went to Mr. Busch’s home on Pestalozzi Street, and placed his business card on a silver platter, which the butler then took in to Mr. Busch.  The butler would return with the check for Mr. Grone.

At any rate, I painted the Bevo Mill as a mother’s day gift for my mom.  Luckily she doesn’t have a computer, and I doubt any of my relatives on here will spill the beans between now and Sunday.

I painted this in the studio from a photo I took as I was driving by it on Morganford Road.  I love how the sun is right behind the mill, and makes the sky really bright around the top of the mill.  This adds drama, and makes it interesting.  This was my first time painting in 3 point perspective.  My husband made a beautiful professional looking frame for it from red oak.

My First Fish Painting

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Flamboyant, mixed media on canvas panel, 16″ x 20″

I got bored of painting landscapes, flowers, and buildings, which have been my favorite things to paint.  So I decided to paint a fish.  When I came across a photo of the mandarin fish for the first time, I could not believe my eyes.  I have never seen a more colorful, exotic looking fish.  I love fish.  I used to have an aquarium, but gave it up so I could have the 3 cats I have now.  The fish tank was a lot of work.

I have a great love for color, and this subject matter sure fits the bill.  My color palette was Permalba white, lemon yellow, cadmium yellow dark, cadmium scarlet, permanent rose, cerulean blue phthalo, ultramarine blue, and burnt umber.  For the body of the fish, I used the cerulean with a bit of yellow mixed in, and cadmium yellow dark with a touch of cad scarlet added.  I love the various warm and cool blues.  I used glazing in pure ultramarine blue and Liquin for the transluscent fin on the side.

This is oil, on an acrylic background.  It was a labor intensive thing to paint, but I’m very happy with it, and enjoyed painting it.  I am in amazement at the creativity of God, to make such a creature.

The Super Spiritual People

So many persons consider themselves spiritual.  You know the type.  Always lecturing others to count their blessings, quoting famous spiritual writers and the bible, and in general feeling very pleased with themselves about their spirituality.  Many of them are very active in organized religion.  They look down on others who don’t go to church, or aren’t as active as they are in service and volunteer work, or who have a lot of struggles and difficulties in life.

What I’m wondering is this – if there are so many super spiritual people in this world, why does the world seem to be spinning out of control?  Why is there so much more violence, immorality, and poverty?  Why are so many nations at odds with each other?

What I’ve noticed is, that when I have an issue, or am upset, these super spiritual people, instead of coming alongside me in compassion and kindness, they tend to lecture at me, preach at me, judge me, and criticize me.  It is as if they are using my misfortune to lift themselves above me, and give themselves a quick feel good boost emotionally.  They tend to come off as arrogant, harsh, cold, uncaring, judgmental, and sometimes even condemning.

Here is what Jesus said about religious people who lack love:

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.  1 Corinthians 13: 1-3 KJV

I don’t know if it is just something in American Christianity, or worldwide, but it seems as though many Christians have lost the spirit of love.  And the Bible says “God is love”.   The Bible says that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control.  Yet, more often than not, what I personally witness is Christians who are arrogant, self righteous, harsh, cold, quick to judge, and rudeness.

Could it be that many of us have become the whitewashed sepulchers that Jesus talked about in the gospels?

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.  Ephesians 2: 8-9 KJV

Could it be that 2 Timothy 3 is becoming even more relevant today, as we near the time of the return of Jesus Christ?

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”

Jesus’ most scathing words were reserved for self-righteous Pharisees.

Beautiful Day in Forest Park “Time is Forever”

DSC_0019I gave myself a wonderful gift for my birthday.   I went to Forest Park here in St Louis

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Time is Forever, 14″ x 18″, pastel on pastel board

Missouri to paint en plein air.  My sister came out and joined me for part of the painting session, which was an added bonus!  I painted the visitor’s center.  This is one of the many charming old buildings in this town.  St Louis has much beautiful, older architecture.  I remember spending hours with my art teacher at age 8 learning to paint cubes, cylinders, spheres, etc.  and learning how to shade them to make them look 3 dimensional.  This is probably why I enjoy painting buildings to this day.

It was a perfect spring day.  The sun was DSC_0027shining, and it was warm without being hot.  I had lots of people stop by to talk to me, and they were all very gracious.

Blessed Are the Rejects

This Woman Writes by Carolyn Henderson

Maybe it’s because we live in the country and don’t have a proper lawn, but I really like dandelions.

Dandelions original painting impressionism girl and mother in green field of flowers in springPeople with the minds and hearts of children see and understand with a wisdom denied to the canny and clever. Dandelions, by Steve Henderson

To most (urban/suburban) people focused on keeping that living carpet pristinely green, dandelions are a scourge, a pest, an abomination that need to be trampled upon, plucked out, and sprayed at all costs. And while the hostility is understandable, it’s also a bit sad when we consider we’re talking about a bright yellow flower that covers the hillside in spring with its blooms.

As a bonus, the flowers turn into white puffy rounds that many of us remember, as children, blowing into, oftentimes while making a wish.

Such is the difference between the thought process of an adult and that of a child, and while there are…

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