watercolor painting “Garden at Sunset”

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

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Garden at Sunset, watercolor on rag paper, 12″ x 16″

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.

Click here for link to purchasing info. 

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Shadows and Reflections

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.

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Shadows and Reflections, acrylic on canvas panel, 14″ x 18

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.

Here is the listing in my online store. 

Dreaming of Warmer Days

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.

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Dreaming of Warmer Days, soft pastel

Shades of Pink Improved

It’s a good thing I like to leave a painting on my easel, which is just about 10 feet from my bed.  I get to glance at it in all types of light, and see what I need to do to it.  I noticed that at night, I could not see the stamens, because they were the same value (level of darkness) as the bottom on the tulip cup.  So today, I made a lighter green with my optical white, naples yellow, and sap green.  I applied some of this to the top 2/3 of each stamen with a stippling brush, making sure not to cover up some of the underlying optical darkness.  I also added some optical white to the edges of some of the petals to brighten it up a bit.  I’m very pleased with the results.  The lighter stamens are actually making the insides of the flower appear more luminous and colorful.

Here is a link to the listing in my etsy store.

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Shades of Pink, oil on canvas panel, 16″ x 20″