Old St Marcus Crabapples

One Friday in early spring, I went about 2 – 3 blocks from my home to Old St Marcus Park  for a day of plein air painting.  It was one of those idyllic spring days where the sun was shining, it was balmy, and nature was exploding with a rich, clear, blue sky, vibrant greens, and luscious pinks.  I set up in the grass that was carpeted with violets.

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Old St Marcus Crabapples, oil on canvas panel, 20″ x 16″

I started by toning my panel with a brilliant cool lemon yellow, which to me is the color of early to mid spring on a sunny day.

After this, I painted the evergreen trees on the left.  I did it quickly and somewhat loosely, because time is of the essence when it comes to painting outdoors.  I then did the path and the grasses.  Then I did the pink crabapple trees.  I used cadmium red deep with lots of white.  I also added some warm colors for the lighter sunlit parts.  I think I mixed in some orange or scarlet.  Lastly, I painted in the violets in the grass.  I allowed parts of the bright yellow underpainting to show through, to connote warmth and light.  This works really well with the parts of the grass that are in the sun.  I deliberately simplified the background, which in actual fact had houses and cars, etc, because that wasn’t the point of the painting, and it would have been noise and distraction.

If you closely look at any tree in bloom or in leaf, there are lots of interior darks and grays that support the vivid colors of the outer sunlit leaves and flowers.  I made this gray a greenish gray, in order to complement the pinks of the sunlit crabapple blooms.    This was done in midday, due to the restrictions of my schedule that day.

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Sunlit Dahlia

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“Sunlit Dahlia”, oil on panel, 20″ x 16″

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.

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Creve Coeur Shadows

I recently took a class with Jerry Thomas called French Impressionist Blue Painting.  The basic premise is that you use at least 2 or more pigment blues, and keep them isolated

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“Creve Coeur Shadows”, 18″ x 14″, oil on canvas panel

from each other in different areas of your painting.

This particular scene is at Creve Coeur Lake in St Louis Missouri.  My husband, sons, and I have spent lots of time sailing here during summers.  I used cobalt blue for the sky, Prussian blue for the water, and ultramarine blue for the snow shadows. Blue is a space color, and there is a strong sense of space in this piece.  I started with a panel toned in bright yellow, to offset all the blues and warm it up, so it wouldn’t look icy cold.  I also used soft pinks, yellows, and violets in the grays of the trees and shrubs.

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My First Fish Painting

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Flamboyant, mixed media on canvas panel, 16″ x 20″

I got bored of painting landscapes, flowers, and buildings, which have been my favorite things to paint.  So I decided to paint a fish.  When I came across a photo of the mandarin fish for the first time, I could not believe my eyes.  I have never seen a more colorful, exotic looking fish.  I love fish.  I used to have an aquarium, but gave it up so I could have the 3 cats I have now.  The fish tank was a lot of work.

I have a great love for color, and this subject matter sure fits the bill.  My color palette was Permalba white, lemon yellow, cadmium yellow dark, cadmium scarlet, permanent rose, cerulean blue phthalo, ultramarine blue, and burnt umber.  For the body of the fish, I used the cerulean with a bit of yellow mixed in, and cadmium yellow dark with a touch of cad scarlet added.  I love the various warm and cool blues.  I used glazing in pure ultramarine blue and Liquin for the transluscent fin on the side.

This is oil, on an acrylic background.  It was a labor intensive thing to paint, but I’m very happy with it, and enjoyed painting it.  I am in amazement at the creativity of God, to make such a creature.

A Winter Plein Air Scene

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.

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“Horseshoe Lake in Winter”, oil on canvas panel

 

Autumn Mist

I just finished this painting a few minutes ago.  I used a photo as a reference for this.  My usual style is high key, colorful painting.  My goal in this particular piece was to loosen up a bit, and paint somewhat more softly.  I love how the violets and blues in the mists contrast with the golds, yellows, and reds in this.

My palette consisted of zinc/titanium white, cadmium lemon, cadmium yellow deep, yellow ochre, burnt sienna, purple lake, indigo, and terre verte, and burnt umber.  (I don’t care much for terre verte, but I wanted to use it up).  I mixed indigo with burnt umber to make my dark.

Fall is my favorite time of year.  We had an especially spectacular one this year here in Missouri.  It was extended due to warmer than usual weather.

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Autumn Mists, oil on canvas panel, 12″ x 16″

Daylily Dance Oil Painting

I’m quite happy with this painting.

I spent a good amount of time, many hours in fact, mixing all of my basic colors of oil paints.  I got some very beautiful, complex reds from mixing yellows with red violets.  I decided to try one of these mixtures for these stunning and colorful daylilies.  The color of the flowers is based on a mix of cadmium yellow medium and quinacridone rose.  I also used Permalba white, yellow ochre, ultramarine deep, sap green, and Van Dyke brown.  I painted the background smoothly with a brush.  Then, I painted in the dark shadows with a muted blue green.  I painted the leaves in with a brush, from dark, to middle, to light values.  I put in the flower petals and the flower throats with palette knives.  I made a point to blend the back edges of the flower petals into the background somewhat to add depth.  Lost and found edges are very good to have.  It adds depth, and helps the positive and negative space to flow together into a unified whole.

I let this dry for a few days, then I painted in the flower buds with palette knives, then the stems.  After this dried to the touch, I added some hilights, and a few minor details.  In my opinion, this is one of my best floral paintings.  I hope you enjoy seeing it as much as I enjoyed painting it.   Here is a link to the online listing. 

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Daylily Dance, oil on canvas panel, 18″ x 24″