Closeup of Pink Tulip

I think flowers are my favorite part of nature.  In spring, I can’t help but be so enchanted by their color, their beauty, their sweetness, their fragrance.  Here is a closeup of a tulip done in oil.  I used Permalba white, naples yellow, permanent rose, sap green, indigo blue, and burnt umber.

I love to paint the subtle changes in value in the petals, and also the internal structures of the flower.

For some reason this tulip reminded me of my mother.  This painting has a soft quality to it, and is painted mainly in cool tones.

pinktulipcloseup
Softness of Spring, oil on panel, 16″ x 20″

 

Steps To Spring

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.

StepstoSpring
Steps to Spring, soft pastel, 18″ x 24″

Another Plein Air Sketch the Next Day

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.Pere Marq redbud

Back Into My Art Again Full Time

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.  Windy Crabapple