Last weekend I participated in the first New York Botanical Gardens Paint Out. 25 invited artists were given the opportunity to paint for a day in one of 28 formal garden settings on the 250 acre property. The paintout was the idea of James Gurney and the staff at the New York Botanical Gardens- Miriam Flores,Gayle Schmidt and Sarah Henkind.
We all gathered in the morning for an orientation meeting where we went over the rules for painting and received our swag bags and prepared lunches followed by a photo op. We then were shuttled by golf cart to our respective sites.
At the end of the day we got together again at one of the onsite restaurants for a light meal and beverages and socialized a bit before we all headed home.
Our badges gave us access to the Impressionist show of 22 paintings in the Library building and the impressionist flower gardens planted in the conservatory. The paintings were top notch with work by Sargent, Chase, Hassam, Lawson, Twachtman and a few others. The flowers gardens were beautifully arranged with plants that were popular in the 19thcentury like Holly Hocks, Fox Glove and Lillies.
I was in the Home Garden center where they had some smaller gardens like a rose garden with arbor and flowering herb garden.
Garden and formal outdoor botanical arrangements can be a little harder to capture than a natural setting. The reason for this usually is the smaller area of the arrangement allows more details to be observed. There are usually formal perspective problems or architectural additions associated with the layout too which adds a level of complexity to the scene.
flower beds 8 x 10 oil
When painting these kinds of subjects I focus on the differences of shape, color, pattern and edges within the setting. Organizing things in a way that lets me paint in a broad manner without getting bogged down into fussy details but still give the overall impression of the scene.
Rose Arbor 12 x 16 oil
Greens are important in these motifs. I mix all my greens so I can control the subtle shifts their color aspects in light and shade.
Roses and Lavender 8 x 10 oil
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