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.
I gave myself a wonderful gift for my birthday. I went to Forest Park here in St Louis
Missouri to paint en plein air. My sister came out and joined me for part of the painting session, which was an added bonus! I painted the visitor’s center. This is one of the many charming old buildings in this town. St Louis has much beautiful, older architecture. I remember spending hours with my art teacher at age 8 learning to paint cubes, cylinders, spheres, etc. and learning how to shade them to make them look 3 dimensional. This is probably why I enjoy painting buildings to this day.
It was a perfect spring day. The sun was shining, and it was warm without being hot. I had lots of people stop by to talk to me, and they were all very gracious.
My husband had a day off work, and we had the privilege to spend the day at the Missouri Botanical Garden on a beautiful balmy and sunny September Day. We sat on a bench in the shade, and I painted this sunny, splashy fountain with soft pastels. I like how the sun dappled the water and the surrounding patio. I also love the sun dappling on the water of the fountain itself, as well as the droplets of water surrounding the water spurts.
I did this one en plein air (meaning outside). It was a cool and very windy early spring day, so I stayed in my minivan to paint this. My husband was with me. It is the back of the World’s Fair pavilion. I loved how you could see the sky and the pink crabapple trees behind the archways. It is soft pastel.
I go crazy with color. I find the spring greens amazing, as well as the bright colors of blooming things.
Here is a soft pastel I did a few weeks ago. This is a scene at Francis Park here in south St. Louis. One of my favorite things is to combine architectural elements with nature. This makes for an interesting contrast. I like the structural, geometric forms, and how they interrelate with the soft, flowing elements of nature. I also like how the light and shadows play off of one another here. See how the tree shadows define the geometric lines of the steps, and the curb along the steps on the right? The open space in the background adds depth and dimension, contrasting with the vertical aspect of the plant leaves on the left.
My husband, son, and I decided to go to Pere Marquette State Park in Grafton, Illinois. On the way to the hike, I’m reading an issue of Artists’ Magazine, and there is an article on a specific technique for how not to get all bogged down in detail. It was great timing. The article said to see your scene as just an arrangement of large abstract shapes, and to draw a rough line drawing of these shapes in pencil or charcoal, and then color them in, and then work on from there. It was very helpful. I decided that for the next several months, I would do just that. And, I would be very intentional about simplifying what I saw, and not feeling compelled to record every small detail. I would also figure out what I liked about the scene, and then make that the focal point.
My guys wanted to hike, and I wanted to sketch. All of the redbud trees were in bloom this day, and it was sunny and warm. Gorgeous! It was another windy day, so this time I painted from inside my van. Today I would experiment with oil pastels. I’m not used to them, and they are big and blunt, so not much detail.
Here is what I came up with. It has a completely different look than regular pastels.
So I had been working at the kitchen of my son’s elementary school, but am doing so no longer. I’m back into full on art making mode! Woohoo!
A week ago, I made my first attempt at plein air painting for a VERY long time, at Francis Park in south St Louis. I was very drawn to an elderly crabapple tree, just starting to bloom. It was dark pink. It was a day with almost ridiculous wind (gusting up to 40 mph or more), so I needed to keep a low profile. Therefore I sat in a chair that was low to the ground, used no easel, and just painting a small piece. However, I was gobsmacked by all of the details, and quickly got overwhelmed and frustrated. After I brought the piece home, I knew it would need major work, but I had already filled in all the tooth in the paper. So I sprayed it heavily with workable fixative, and reworked it. As I already had a good structure in place, I had only to add some details. Here is what I ended up with. I love how pastel is so forgiving.