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.
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.
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.
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.
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.