I think my favorite subject matter is all in the Missouri Botanical Garden. If I didn’t have other responsibilities, I would literally set up camp there, and paint morning noon and night! One late May evening, I was strolling through here prior to the Whitaker music festival. When I walked through the Japanese garden by the crooked bridge, I was struck by the way the setting sun hit the tops of the trees in the background, and the way it reflected off the water. What a perfect place to sit and relax.
I recently took a class with Jerry Thomas called French Impressionist Blue Painting. The basic premise is that you use at least 2 or more pigment blues, and keep them isolated
from each other in different areas of your painting.
This particular scene is at Creve Coeur Lake in St Louis Missouri. My husband, sons, and I have spent lots of time sailing here during summers. I used cobalt blue for the sky, Prussian blue for the water, and ultramarine blue for the snow shadows. Blue is a space color, and there is a strong sense of space in this piece. I started with a panel toned in bright yellow, to offset all the blues and warm it up, so it wouldn’t look icy cold. I also used soft pinks, yellows, and violets in the grays of the trees and shrubs.
When I was walking past the lily pad ponds by the Linnaeus House in the Missouri Botanical Garden, I was mesmerized by the pattern of lily pad shadows and reflections on the water.
I painted this in acrylic based on a photo I took of the scene. I enlarged it on my ipad mini, and did a drawing first. Then I painted in the scene. It was colorful, but looked somewhat flat and disjointed. So, I put my Monet on and put lots of broken color in the shadows and the sky reflections. This made it much more vibrant, and unified the painting. Later, I darkened some of the shadow areas, and brightened the lighter areas to improve the value system. Finally, I realized it was hard to tell the reflections and shadows from the actual lily pads and flower, so I put a glaze over the water using a mixture of translucent zinc white, iridescent silver, and iridescent gold.
My favorite part of this is the foreground lily, with the white and gold light reflections on it.