I gave myself a wonderful gift for my birthday. I went to Forest Park here in St Louis
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 shining, and it was warm without being hot. I had lots of people stop by to talk to me, and they were all very gracious.
I’m very pleased with how this pastel painting turned out. It is of the boxwood garden at the Missouri Botanical Garden. I really like the contrast of the vertical brickwork in the foreground left and the fountains on the lower right, with the horizontals of the garden behind it. It is very colorful. There is a warm, sunny feel to this piece. You can see the gazebo through the round opening in the brick wall. I really enjoyed creating this painting.
I did this painting with my painting buddy Jane. It was fall, and again in Carondelet Park, which is just a few blocks from my home. This is one of the old pavilions in the park. This was a bit more challenging than just a regular quadrangle, since there is a semi-hexagonal section in the middle. I love the older Victorian architecture in many of the city parks in St Louis.
I’ve gone from spring, to autumn, to winter. Here is a small oil painting I did of Carondelet Park in the winter. I had just gotten a wonderful new plein air easel, and was very excited about that. It is the Soltek easel. I LOVE it!!! Man, is it quick and easy to set up and take down. This is horseshoe lake in the park, as seen from south. The building is either a utility building, or restrooms. I like how the red roof shows up in the muted colors of winter.
I’m a bit out of order here. I had painted this en plein air last autumn with my painting buddy Jane Flanders. This is in Carondelet Park, by the corner of Holly Hills and Leona. The tree is a maple tree. Carondelet Park has a lot of karst landscape. St Louis has a lot of caverns underneath it, and when these collapse, it forms a basin, as you can see here. I like the effect of the background even better than the orange and red tree. This is done in pastel.
I was born and raised in the tropics (Venezuela). Now, I’m in Missouri, USA. I really miss the tropical weather in winter! So, I decided to go to the Missouri Botanical Garden Temperate House, and paint this romantic little scene of vines trailing along a Mediterranean stucco wall. This is done in soft pastels, en plein air.
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.