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!

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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.

Paddle Boating in Forest Park Painting Completed

I just finished this a half hour ago.  I’m very glad I decided to put in the paddle boat with 5 people in it.  Otherwise, it would have looked somewhat empty.

Last week, my husband and I spent the day at Forest Park, here in St Louis where I live.  Forest Park is the site of the 1904 World’s Fair.  It is well known for that.  It is St Louis’s version of Central Park in New York.

I chose this spot where I could paint on of the park’s many bridges.  I’ve painted several other bridges in this park.

I sat in my car, because it was a warm and windy day, and the view from my minivan was perfect.  My goat here was to paint the light, and then the color.  I was particular struck by the bright, glowing, yellow green leaves of the juvenile tree on the point of land on the right side, as well as by the play of light and shadow on the various grasses and plants under and around this tree.  I purposely lowered the height of the background trees so I could put more sky in the painting.  Having sky always makes a painting appear more spacious, and the light of the sky contrasts nicely with the darks on the ground and water.

I used Nupastels, and Faber Castell soft pastel half sticks.  Their square shape really helps. I also added a few strokes with my extra soft pastels, which are primarily Unison, Sennelier, Schminke, and Great American pastels.  I love the pure color of a pastel stick, and the buttery, soft consistency.  A good artist pastel is literally almost pure pigment, with just a small amount of binder to hold it together.

Here is the link to the listing at my esty store. 

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