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 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,
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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This is an abstract colored pencil drawing I did yesterday. It’s done on Canson Mi Tientes Touch heavy duty pastel board. It has a toothy, rough surface that holds many layers of pastel or pencil.
When I do an abstract, I start with a basic idea. However, I let the artwork unfold and I let my idea evolve. This makes it more fun, and more of an adventure. When I first started drawing and painting, I was very rigid, and mainly wanted my art to look like the objects I was representing. That’s probably because I was learning the skills of how to render real life objects. Doing abstract work is freeing, and more relaxing for me. I can express a concept, or a feeling, not just physical objects. It’s also fun to play with color, lines, shapes, values, and so on. I love doing geometric forms.
Two things happened with this, that I had not planned. First, the fact that my lines are closer together and less diagonal in the background gives this piece a feeling of one point perspective. Second, I like the striations of light and dark violets in the upper 1/5 of the piece. It reminds me of a sunset with a couple of cloud banks down by the horizon. The green areas remind me of a rural landscape. The yellow/gold/orange in the middle reminds me of the path life takes us on.
Spring is such a lovely season. After the cold and dark of winter, the warmth and sun are such a welcome relief to me. A little while back, I painted this en plein air at a local microbrewery in a small town in Missouri. It is an uphill view, and shows the play of light and color of the sun shining through a crabapple tree. It has a soft, dreamy feel about it. That is how I was feeling that day when I painted it. I remember listening to old 60’s tunes that the brewery was playing, and it gave me a nostalgic feeling. I was little kid in the 1960’s. There was a charming older home at the top of the hill.
Today, I took my younger son Andrew to visit my mom. We gave her a very nice lavender scented candle, and a bright yellow kalachoe plant. She decided to buy my paintings called “Six Canoes”. It is an oil painting I did at Creve Coeur Lake in north St. Louis county. This is where our family sails, and they also have a rental place for stand up paddle boards, canoes, and paddle boats. One day, as I was sitting by the rental place, I noticed this lady in a fuschia bathing suit on a SUP. I really liked how you could see the canoes and stacks of chairs along the shore. I pumped up the light and warmth in the sky. I also like how the canoes are all from a different perspective from left to right. One of the canoes is hard to locate, but it is there. Can you find it?