Plein Air Painting of Fountain Behind Ridgeway Center

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.

Fountain Behind Ridgeway Center, soft pastel

En Plein Air Painting of Kentucky Lake


I recently got back from a week long trip to Kentucky Lake, which started out great, but got rather dicey at the end.  At any rate, one of the highlights of the trip was that I got to paint en plein air (outside) on a day when it wasn’t hot and humid.

Here are the results of my painting session.  My family and I went to Lighthouse Landing at Kentucky Lake.  I took along some small (9 x 12) sheets of toothy pastel paper, and my Nupastels, which are hard pastels.  They are great for traveling, as they don’t take up much space.

I decided to add warmer blues and yellows to the boats and the foreground water, because it was so cold and blue.  I wanted it to have more warmth.

My plein air work is not usually as smooth and finished as my studio work.  I’m looking at this right now, and seeing that I could consider softening some of the passages in here.  However, I will probably leve it as is, to maintain the loose and spontaneous quality that makes plein air work desirable.

As you can see, this was a partly cloudy day.  It was mostly cloudy by the end of this painting session, which was about 2.5 hours.

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. 


Mother’s Day

Today, I took my younger son Andrew to visit my mom.  We gave her a very nice lavender scented candle, and a bright yellow kalachoe plant.  She decided to buy my paintings called “Six Canoes”.  It is an oil painting I did at Creve Coeur Lake in north St. Louis county.  This is where our family sails, and they also have a rental place for stand up paddle boards, canoes, and paddle boats.  One day, as I was sitting by the rental place, I noticed this lady in a fuschia bathing suit on a SUP.  I really liked how you could see the canoes and stacks of chairs along the shore.  I pumped up the light and warmth in the sky.  I also like how the canoes are all from a different perspective from left to right.  One of the canoes is hard to locate, but it is there.  Can you find it?

Six Canoes
Six Canoes, oil on canvas panel, 16″ x 20″, SOLD