Shrimp Gleaner

I just finished this watercolor painting two days ago.  I was in the panhandle of Florida in late May, and we visited a fish market called Joe Patti’s. It is in Pensacola, right at the shrimp docks where the fishing boats come in.  This pelican was sitting there, and he

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“Shrimp Gleaner” watercolor, 12″ x 16″

probably enjoys what is left over from the catch each day.  He was quite tame, and allowed me to get pretty close to take a shot of him sitting on this piling.

I started by painting the bay, the distant land, and the sky wet on wet.  I used mainly blue and violet.  After that dried, I painted the spit of land on the left, and the dock. I used a toned down violet and blue green for this.  At one point, I used a spray bottle over zealously, and my dock piling paint started to spread more than I wanted it to.  I lifted that out.  Lastly, I painted the bird, in yellows and brownish oranges.  The bird is actually more gray, but I wanted some warmth in the painting as a counterpoint to all the cool blues and violets, so I made him orange brown and yellow.  I also put some of these oranges, yellows, and browns in the dock, water, and land to unify the painting and bring it all together.  I put a touch of yellow in the lower part of the sky to bring more light into the picture.

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Coronado Glory Original Pastel Drawing

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I painted this en plain air with my husband Jon in fall of 2016 in Holly Hills.  Holly Hills is an especially beautiful and charming neighborhood in south St Louis City.  The sugar maples have an amazing color scheme.  They range from a deep golden orange, up through a beautiful magenta color, with darker oranges and reds in between.  These are one of my favorite trees in the fall, because I am a colorist.  When I first moved to St Louis at age 15, I was truly blown away by the colors of these, and would just stare at them in awe and amazement.  I even remember one Sunday, our family drove to a small country town for a sausage supper in October, and I saw so many of these trees on the way there.  I was transported in bliss!

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“Coronado Glory”, pastel on board, 15 1/4″ x 10 1/2″

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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View to the Future

This is an abstract colored pencil drawing I did yesterday.  It’s done on Canson Mi Tientes Touch heavy duty pastel board.  It has a toothy, rough surface that holds many layers of pastel or pencil.

When I do an abstract, I start with a basic idea.  However, I let the artwork unfold and I let my idea evolve.  This makes it more fun, and more of an adventure.  When I first started drawing and painting, I was very rigid, and mainly wanted my art to look like the objects I was representing.  That’s probably because I was learning the skills of how to render real life objects.  Doing abstract work is freeing, and more relaxing for me.  I can express a concept, or a feeling, not just physical objects.  It’s also fun to play with color, lines, shapes, values, and so on.  I love doing geometric forms.

Two things happened with this, that I had not planned.  First, the fact that my lines are closer together and less diagonal in the background gives this piece a feeling of one point perspective.  Second, I like the striations of light and dark violets in the upper 1/5 of the piece.  It reminds me of a sunset with a couple of cloud banks down by the horizon.  The green areas remind me of a rural landscape.  The yellow/gold/orange in the middle reminds me of the path life takes us on.

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View to the Future, 15 1/4″ x 10 1/4, colored pencil on pastel board

Phases

I really love this Art Spectrum Colourfix Paper.  For one thing, look at the rich, colorful violet blue background.  Using colored pencils on this is so smooth and buttery.

I was inspired by an image I saw in church of a cross with spots of light, like stars.  The “stars” were soft and dim, bright and clear, or in between.  That made me want to do something similar.  I went with a variation of a split complement color scheme.  Blue and orange are opposites on the color wheel.  Red and yellow are close to orange.  So, I used lots of variations of red, pink, orange, yellow, and cream to make these various balls.  I love how the blue shows through on some of them between the circular lines, so I left them that way.

I got the idea to put shadow tails on some of them (like a comet’s tail) because the drawing looked flat, and just reminded me of a fabric print.  I think this really helped add a sense of mystery, and made for a much stronger value system, which is the system of lights and darks.  I used indigo blue for the shadows.  I like the the shadows form a veil over some of the other orbs, and create a greater sense of being three dimensional.

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Phases, colored pencil on pastel board, 16″ x 12″

Yes, I’ve neglected my blog…

… because of a veritable storm of family issues.  There have been 3 significant injuries over the past 2 weeks – 2 dislocated shoulders, and a dislocated toe.  My older son Jonathan got his car totaled on a 3 week road trip all over the western USA, then got stranded in Colorado (we live in Missouri) because a freak hailstorm with tennis ball sized hail ruined all the rental cars.  My husband and I were spending the week dealing with the various health issues and auto insurance claim stuff.  Many other things have gone on too, which I don’t want to bore people with.  I’m extremely thankful that he and his girlfriend came out of this unharmed.  Thank you Jesus!  I had been praying for him every day, and the Lord was with him.

Fortunately, I have been able to still squeeze in some time for painting.

I like to walk every day if I can.  I go around my neighborhood.  I’m fortunate to live in south St Louis, where there is quite a lot of old and beautiful architecture, and tree lined boulevards with shady parkways in the middle.  One day, I walked past an alleyway, and saw a charming wooden fence.  Someone must have planted some meadow mix along the base of it. There were some colorful wildflowers growing along the base of it.

There is a subtle complementary color scheme going on here.  It is yellow and violet.  The fence is based on yellow orange, and the alley and some of the flowers are blue violet.  I went impressionist on this by using broken color on the fence and pavement.  I also have an interesting contrast between the urban elements of street, power line shadows, dumpsters, and fence, with the organic plants, tree, and flowers.  The rather austere appearance of background dumpsters and garages emphasizes the beauty and grace of the blooming things.  Here is the listing in my online store.

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Alley Rhythm, oil on canvas panel, 24″ x 18″