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
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!