I spent four days this week painting (and dancing) in St. Louis. Elmore and I had visited last summer, and I was gobsmacked by both the botanical gardens and by Tower Grove Park, both created by Henry Shaw in the 1860's and 70's. It was stunning to me how one visionary man could give so much to so many and change the face of a city so beautifully.
I'd been wanting to go back and paint ever since, especially since gardens (ever since that trip) have been figuring prominently in my work for this year's show. This past weekend offered both a contra dance and a waltz party, so it seemed ideal. I got to paint with the daylight and dance with good friends in the evenings.
I started first in the Missouri Botanical Garden because I knew that once I hit Tower Grove I wouldn't want to leave. (I'm in love with that park.) The top painting is of a delightfully colorful formal garden, full of small geometric shapes. Just above is an indoor Mediterranean garden (a temperate greenhouse) that reminds me powerfully of Turkey with all the colored tile. I was glad there was a bit of an indoor option for painting, since the Saturday weather was drizzly instead of the sunshine the weather forecast had promised.
Finally, below is the mausoleum of Henry Shaw, tucked in a forested glade full of bluebells at the heart of the Botanical Garden. He deserves such a beautiful place for all the beauty he has bequeathed future generations.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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