Sandy Creek Covered Bridge

Today, I went to Goldman, Missouri to paint this quaint old covered bridge.  It was a perfect day to paint outside – gentle breezes, warm, but not hot, and best of all I found a shady spot in which to paint this.  This was done in soft pastels.  First, I walked all IMG_0015around the area to find a good view.  Then, the smart phone came in handy to make a good composition, avoiding center lines.  A few lines were drawn based on this, and then the gadget was put away.

I completed the drawing in white “charcoal” using Sennelier La Carte pastel board in the color sienna.  This has a rough, toothy surface that grabs and hold on to the pastel.  It is possible to layer it thickly, and get some really good intense, vibrant colors in there.  NuPastels were used first – dark, earthy red for the shadow side of the

Sandy Creek Covered Bridge, soft pastel on pastel board, 18″ x 13 3/4″

covered bridge, and a bright tomato red for the light side.  I paid attention to the structures inside of the covered bridge, as well.  Cooler, grayer greens were selected for the background trees, and warmer, higher chroma greens for the foreground trees, shrubs, and grass.  I also blended and softened the edges of the background trees.  Dark blue was lightly scumbled over the green for the darker shadow areas of the greenery.   Finally,  the large tree covering the left side of the bridge was left out, as the composition would benefit from an area of flat color to offset all the variations in the surrounding greenery and the sun dappling.

I love to paint bright, sunny scenes.  The key to that is to use a strong value system, including darks.  This supports the lighter yellow greens, pinks, peaches, etc in this landscape.  I made a special  point to use my blue greens as well for the shadowy areas.  Can you see the contrast between the warm and cool areas?

A guy was riding his bike over the bridge. That would really add a lot, to put him in there img_0016.jpgon his bicycle, so I asked him to ride through again slowly, and he kindly obliged.  He was very nice, and we talked for a while.  He took some pictures of me painting.

Beautiful Day in Forest Park “Time is Forever”

DSC_0019I gave myself a wonderful gift for my birthday.   I went to Forest Park here in St Louis

Time is Forever, 14″ x 18″, pastel on pastel board

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 DSC_0027shining, and it was warm without being hot.  I had lots of people stop by to talk to me, and they were all very gracious.

Autumn in St. Louis

“Carondelet Maple”, pastel on pastel board

I’m a bit out of order here.  I had painted this en plein air last autumn with my painting buddy Jane Flanders.  This is in Carondelet Park, by the corner of Holly Hills and Leona.  The tree is a maple tree.  Carondelet Park has a lot of karst landscape.  St Louis has a lot of caverns underneath it, and when these collapse, it forms a basin, as you can see here.  I like the effect of the background even better than the orange and red tree.  This is done in pastel.

Defiance Sunset

I participated in a plein air event in rural Missouri years ago. In this scene, I’m seated at the corner of 2 country roads painting a homestead on a hill as the sun sets behind it. The lady that lived at the corner came out and spoke to me and was friendly and nice. This is in Defiance, Missouri. I love how the sky has the warm pinkish orange glow, and the long shadows of the trees on the gentle slope.  I remember feeling peaceful and relaxed as I was painting this.  I think this feeling came through in the art work.

Here is the etsy shop listing.



Under the Crabapple Tree

Spring is such a lovely season.  After the cold and dark of winter, the warmth and sun are such a welcome relief to me.  A little while back, I painted this en plein air at a local microbrewery in a small town in Missouri.  It is an uphill view, and shows the play of light and color of the sun shining through a crabapple tree.  It has a soft, dreamy feel about it.  That is how I was feeling that day when I painted it.  I remember listening to old 60’s tunes  that the brewery was playing, and it gave me a nostalgic feeling.  I was little kid in the 1960’s.  There was a charming older home at the top of the hill.

Click here to see the listing in my etsy store. 

Under the Crabapple Tree, 20″ x 16″, oil on canvas panel

Paddle Boating in Forest Park Painting Completed

I just finished this a half hour ago.  I’m very glad I decided to put in the paddle boat with 5 people in it.  Otherwise, it would have looked somewhat empty.

Last week, my husband and I spent the day at Forest Park, here in St Louis where I live.  Forest Park is the site of the 1904 World’s Fair.  It is well known for that.  It is St Louis’s version of Central Park in New York.

I chose this spot where I could paint on of the park’s many bridges.  I’ve painted several other bridges in this park.

I sat in my car, because it was a warm and windy day, and the view from my minivan was perfect.  My goat here was to paint the light, and then the color.  I was particular struck by the bright, glowing, yellow green leaves of the juvenile tree on the point of land on the right side, as well as by the play of light and shadow on the various grasses and plants under and around this tree.  I purposely lowered the height of the background trees so I could put more sky in the painting.  Having sky always makes a painting appear more spacious, and the light of the sky contrasts nicely with the darks on the ground and water.

I used Nupastels, and Faber Castell soft pastel half sticks.  Their square shape really helps. I also added a few strokes with my extra soft pastels, which are primarily Unison, Sennelier, Schminke, and Great American pastels.  I love the pure color of a pastel stick, and the buttery, soft consistency.  A good artist pastel is literally almost pure pigment, with just a small amount of binder to hold it together.

Here is the link to the listing at my esty store.