Muny Gazebo in Forest Park

I LOVE spring!  It is a wonderful time to paint outdoors.  Today was a sunny, warm, breezy day.  My husband doesn’t go to work until 3 PM, so he came with me, and we went to Forest Park in St. Louis to paint the gazebo in front of the Muny in Forest Park, which is an outdoor theatre.

I had already decided to do this one in 2 sessions, instead of just 1, because the subject matter is intricate and complex.  I love older architecture, and this one is Victorian, and has lots of very cool details.  I enjoy showing the details in older architecture.  St Louis has much older Victorian architecture.  My goal for today, which I achieved, was to get a good detailed drawing of my subject.

When I first got there, I chose a spot where there was sunlight on one side and shadow

IMG_0014
Muny Gazebo, pastel, 14″ x 18″

on the other.  This makes for a more interesting composition.  At first I was just going to have the gazebo fill in most of the space, but then I decided to put it further back and include the bridge to the right as well.  This way, I would have a wide expanse of water with the reflections, and sky, and this would make it nicer.  We were blessed in that there was a park bench under some shady trees, so we sat on that.

I used my iphone to take a shot of it, just to establish the first few lines.  I have a tendency otherwise to lose my composition and drift off the page.  Then I built everything else on those first lines.  The first thing I did was establish the horizon, which was 5/8 (golden ration) of the way down from the top.  Then, I got the lines of the shore, the island, the basic outline of the gazebo, and the bridge.  I put my phone away and did the rest just from sight.  I have a view finder, but I need a stand or tripod or something to hold it stationary.  It’s a pain to have to keep holding it up over and over, and finding the same view each time.

I plan to go back on Thursday, because tomorrow it’s supposed to rain. One thing about the midwest, is it’s a challenge to spend more than 1 day on a plein air painting, because the conditions are so different from day to day.  At least I’m not trying to paint something that will change very fast, like flowers, or blooming trees.  Stay tuned for my next session on this one!

Color Effects in Art

Hey guys.  The wind chill was minus 10 Farenheit when I awoke this morning.  I am enjoying my day of staying at home and cooking and doing art.  This morning I baked banana bread and started beef goulash in the slow cooker.  Now, I just got done working on a pastel painting.  I’m using a rough, toothy pastel board of about 20 inches by 16 inches.  It is brick red on the front.  This will help create unity in the painting, as little splotches of this will show up throughout.

I use mostly Nupastels and Unison pastels.  I also use other brands, such as Schmincke, Sennelier, and others.

I started this several weeks ago.  I’m using a photo as a reference point for it.  I took the photo at the Missouri Botanical Garden several years ago.  It was a potted plant – some type of daisy.  Color is my favorite aspect of art. I’ve been told I have a strong sense of light in my paintings.  I’m very glad, because this is what I aim for – color and light.  Since I’m on the autistic spectrum, I also can’t help but be detailed.  That is how my mind works.

As you can see, I’ve painted in the background around the flowers.  I think the flowers will be easy.  I’m doing a secondary color triad (green, violet, orange).  I realized that there is quite a lot of gold and orange in the greens, and an orange influence in the flowers, too.  I really love the lighting effects on the leaves, and on the sphagnum moss. The trick to achieving an effect of strong lighting is to contrast light with dark mainly, and secondarily to contrast color temperatures between light and shadow areas.

I’m seeing that the background is quite busy.  I will just go ahead and do the daisies, then see if and how much I need to soften and simplify the background.

coloreffectsdaisies