Yesterday my husband and I went to Forest Park, only 20 minutes from out home, and set up at the top of the Grand Basin in Forest Park. This is in St Louis, Missouri. It was a very warm, sunny, and breezy day. The redbuds were blooming, and the trees had their tender light green leaves just sprouting. I loved the way you could see the other 2 lakes in the distance among the trees.
I did this painting in pastel on indigo blue Canson Mi Tientes Touch pastel board. The dark blue was a very good background color, as that easily provided the shadows. It was a very relaxing and peaceful day for me, and I really enjoyed doing this piece. A very friendly and nice photographer named Kerry Klein introduced himself to me, and we talked for a bit.
I was inspired by the beautiful warm sun, the fresh colorful spring leaves and flowers, and the serene peaceful water. I love the way the sun comes through the little spaces in the bridge too.
I take a walk almost every day. I’m blessed to live next to a beautiful older neighborhood in south St Louis called Holly Hills. Leona street runs alongside the western edge of Carondelet Park. That is where I was walking when I passed a front yard consisting entirely of a flower garden, complete with running fountain. I was at sunset, and the sun
was peeking from between the 2 houses behind the garden. I loved the way the shaft of golden light was caught and shattered on the flowers and leaves of these echinacea.
The first thing I did was a detailed drawing. Then, I masked in the foreground, which includes the flowers, leaves, stems, and some of the foliage on the left. I got thoroughly wet the sheet of paper, then painted in a very soft background in blue-green, violet, and green. I also included some of the background flowers in violet, orange, and red. The colors ran into each other and created the soft effect, which gives the illusion of depth. I also made a point to keep the background cool, because cool colors recede and enhance this 3 dimensional appearance.
When this paint was completely dry, I removed the masking fluid. I painted in the foreground leaves and stems, and then the flowers. I’m very grateful to The Mind of Watercolor youtube channel for teaching me the techniques of watercolor.
I just finished this watercolor painting two days ago. I was in the panhandle of Florida in late May, and we visited a fish market called Joe Patti’s. It is in Pensacola, right at the shrimp docks where the fishing boats come in. This pelican was sitting there, and he
probably enjoys what is left over from the catch each day. He was quite tame, and allowed me to get pretty close to take a shot of him sitting on this piling.
I started by painting the bay, the distant land, and the sky wet on wet. I used mainly blue and violet. After that dried, I painted the spit of land on the left, and the dock. I used a toned down violet and blue green for this. At one point, I used a spray bottle over zealously, and my dock piling paint started to spread more than I wanted it to. I lifted that out. Lastly, I painted the bird, in yellows and brownish oranges. The bird is actually more gray, but I wanted some warmth in the painting as a counterpoint to all the cool blues and violets, so I made him orange brown and yellow. I also put some of these oranges, yellows, and browns in the dock, water, and land to unify the painting and bring it all together. I put a touch of yellow in the lower part of the sky to bring more light into the picture.
Jane, my painting buddy, and I have decided to do a series of plein air paintings in Tower Grove Park. So far, we have painted 2 of the pavilions together. This one is the Humbolt South Pavilion. Tower Grove Park is a historic park in south St. Louis built by Henry Shaw, the one who founded and build the Missouri Botanical Garden, which is one of the top botanical gardens in the world.
I have a small field sketch kit by Winsor Newton. It consists of 12 half pans of watercolor paint in warm and cool versions of the primary colors (yellow, red, and blue), several neutrals, black, and white. The quality of the paint is very good. These paints are
creamy, smooth, and rich in pigment. They are easy and convenient to use. I also had my palette that is part of my plein air Soltek easel to work on. I used a Shade Buddy umbrella so the sun didn’t dapple on my palette and my paper.
I started, as always, by sketching in my subject. I had some trouble with integrating the roof lines with the base of the pavilion properly. Once I got that figured out, it got easier and more enjoyable. I originally made the mistake of not making the roof bigger and wider than the base of the structure. I then drew in the “sides” in perspective, which was rather challenging, since this building is an octagon. I like the fact that all the components of this building are also octagonal – the cupola, the roof, the individual pillars, and even the bases of the pillars (which I omitted in the painting). So much attention was given to details in the older buildings. I also loved the various curlicues and gingerbread details on the building. The main reason I chose this subject to paint is that I love the golden yellow color of the roof. I like how that contrasts with the teal of the columns, and the reds of the trim.
After the sketch, I painted the sky, and then the trees above the pavilion. Then, I painted the pavilion, and then the trees and grass behind the pavilion. The next time I do this, I would change 2 things. Number one, I would mask in the pavilion so I don’t have to paint around all the columns and fluff on the pavilion. Second, I would do the background trees and sky wet on wet to make for a softer look, which would create a better sense of space. I would also paint in the sky all at once, so there isn’t a line and difference in value in the sky on the upper right hand side.
Overall, this turned out all right, especially considering this is my first plein air watercolor painting.
I just started painting in watercolors! A couple of months ago, I picked up some watercolor brush pens for sketching with. I ended up doing some small pieces with these. I was entranced with the way the watercolor blended, and made interesting
effects when I tried to blend and soften it with water. I love the transparency and luminosity of them as well.
A month ago, we went to the panhandle of Florida, and stayed in a place on the beach. The news made it sound like the storm Alberto would devastate the Gulf Coast. However, it just caused some rough surf, wind, and a bit of rain for a few days.
For this painting, I used professional Winsor Newton cadmium yellow, cadmium scarlet, permanent rose, French ultramarine, Winsor blue (green shade), and permanent sap green. I used Arches 100% rag (cotton) watercolor paper, which is one of the best.
I started by doing a basic line drawing. Then, I masked in the areas of the ocean that I wanted to stay white. I first painted water over the sky and sea area. Then I painted the sky. I lifted color with a paper towel to form the soft clouds. I painted the sea. In the background, I used ultramarine blue with a tad of orange to avoid the color being too high chroma. Then, I gradually blended in some Windsor blue, which is similar to a phthalate blue, which is blue green. As I came into the shallows, I blended in the sap green, and added lots of water to lighten the value. Because the sea and sky were painted wet on wet, the darker blue of the sea feathered into the sky and created a nice soft horizon.
I let the sky and sea dry, then I removed the masking. The next day, I put some masking fluid in the boardwalk walls. I painted the umbrellas and people, then I painted the boardwalk, wet on dry to form crisper edges. My focal point is obviously the umbrellas, especially the red one. It really pops out because it contrasts so much with the blues and greens. Lastly, I painted the sea oats wet on wet with green and brown. I just love how the paint softened all by itself. When I have painted in oil, I had to soften the edges by using a fan brush, but the water causes the paint to disperse and soften by itself. The beach color is just the off white color of the paper.
I’m making a foray into watercolor painting! Up until recently, I always said to myself “I already do oils, acrylics, and pastels. I don’t need to do watercolors”. However, one day I picked up a set of Tombow watercolor brush pens just to sketch with in the field. I started playing around with them at home in the studio. I really enjoyed the fluid, organic way the paints mixed together on the paper. I also love that I don’t have much set up or clean up, just put the pens in their storage container. The luminous transparent quality is very nice too.
I’ve been learning the technical how-to’s of watercolor from a great youtube channel called “The Mind of Watercolor”.
I worked from a photo of bleeding heart flowers that I took while walking around the Missouri Botanical Garden with my husband. I thought the pink flowers were striking against the bright yellow green foliage.
I started by doing a line drawing. Then, I masked in all but the background with masking fluid, so I could put a graduated wash in for the background. I used watered down acrylic paints in lemon yellow, quinacridone magenta, and viridian green. The latter 2 pigments mixed made a type of violet. After the background wash dried, I removed the masking fluid. I had some minor problems with some of the paper coming up with the masking fluid, because the lady at Dick Blick sold me student grade cheap watercolor paper. (I have since purchased an Arches watercolor block, and will save the cheap paper for sketches and exercises).
Then, I painted in the blooms. I used pink at the top, and then a light layer of violet and light gray because the pink was too saturated in chroma. On the bottom, I added more pink, and violet. For the stems, I did a layer of yellow green, then a layer of hot pink. Then, I did the leaves in pale yellow, and pale green. I was not happy with the outcome. It had no pizzaz. I added more yellow to the leaves. I decided to go impressionistic, and did some pointillism with some Posca pens to add in some highlights, and to unify the colors. I put some green dots in the flowers, and some pink and violet dots in the leaves. I used an ivory Posca pen for highlights on the flowers and leaves. This definitely improved it, and made it more original. I want to try more pointillism in the future.
I painted this en plain air with my husband Jon in fall of 2016 in Holly Hills. Holly Hills is an especially beautiful and charming neighborhood in south St Louis City. The sugar maples have an amazing color scheme. They range from a deep golden orange, up through a beautiful magenta color, with darker oranges and reds in between. These are one of my favorite trees in the fall, because I am a colorist. When I first moved to St Louis at age 15, I was truly blown away by the colors of these, and would just stare at them in awe and amazement. I even remember one Sunday, our family drove to a small country town for a sausage supper in October, and I saw so many of these trees on the way there. I was transported in bliss!
I just completed this oil painting 10 minutes ago. Last summer, I was taking a brisk walk along Leona Avenue in south St Louis. Just south of Bates Avenue, I happened upon a back yard with big red dahlia’s and red roses. There was a black wrought iron fence as well. I was entranced by the abstract pattern of light and shadow on the sidewalk cast by the fence and the plants.
I painted the flower itself in transparent glazes. The layers are: yellow, light red, rose, green, violet, and blue. My palette consisted of Permalba white, cadmium yellow medium, cadmium scarlet, quinacridone rose, purple madder, ultramarine blue, chrome green deep.
I made use of the color pooling concept. I put subtle red and green glazes in the shadow areas, and on the darker leaf sections. I put a layer of green glaze on the flower in the shadow area to subdue the red slightly. I also included red in the sunlit areas of the sidewalk and the ground. This unified everything, and renders the reflection of color in the surrounding environment.
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.
Here is a piece I painted last winter with a painting buddy at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Since it was cold outside, we decided to paint at the temperate house. I was very drawn to this lovely bronze statue of a little boy playing the recorder. I have 2 sons, and for some reason this one reminds me of my younger son Andrew. There is something about the tilt of his head, and his general demeanor that reminds me of Andrew. I love how he is reflected in the pond, along with some of the greenery growing around him.