Missouri Botanical Gardens

I have decided for the sake of inspiration and over-all enjoyment of life, I will venture to a new place each week. I think I underestimated how involved travel blogging was. It has been a bit overwhelming for me so I’ve just avoided it. However, part of the joy of traveling is sharing it. If I start small, once a week, I can kill a few birds with one stone.

This week I went to the Missouri Botanical Gardens. I’ve lived close to the gardens my whole life and I’d never been.

Currently, the Gardens is hosting their annual Chinese Lantern Festival.  I haven’t been at night yet, but the decorations are mind-blowing.

China Elephants Botanical Gardens


Porcelain Pagoda

Each one of the above sculptures is made with thousands of porcelain plates, cups, spoons, etc. tied together. The tradition is passed down from father to son and the Gardens bring people over from China to build them on site. It took double shifts weeks to get everything built.

Glass Peacock Botanical Gardens

Here is a giant, double headed peacock vase made out of thousands of Chinese glass medicine bottles.

There are really impressive, moving displays wrapped in silk. They light up at night and there’s fire. I was told it was over the top, but isn’t that the entire point of a festival?

As for the regular displays, they are lovely.

Jeruselum Garden

This is inside one of the greenhouses. They have a display with plants from the bible.  All through the gardens they have different architecture and sculptures. It is a visual feast.

Flower Botanical Gardens

I love alliums. I just discovered them last year and I was so happy they had some. They are right out of Dr. Suess.

Chihuly Glass In Tropical Botanical Garden

Chihuly glass everywhere!


Fish Scultpure Botanical Gardens

Sucker Botanical GardensLook at this sucker.


Yeah, I just added that picture so I could say that. I may have also said it at the time. I’m easily amused.
I’m hoping to return in the evening to see the sculptures and lanterns lit.

They also had a small park off to the side where kids could play and learn, as well as, a small building for even more playing and learning.  It would be  great interactive place to take kids for a change of pace from the usual parks.

Before we headed to the Gardens, we stopped by a restaurant called Seedz.  It was delicious. I was looking for paleo/whole30 compliant, but I couldn’t find anything open. Seedz is vegan and it was very delicious. Their tempeh rueben is delcious. Unfortunately, I tried it and only later realized it was made with soy and grains.  It was amazing though. I had their rawfredo. Also very good.

If I Had An Assistant

If I had an assistant, I would have them edit all of the photos. It is my least favorite part of the whole blog. I would probably blog 10 x’s as often if I didn’t have to edit photos. Unfortunately, no one wants an art blog without the art. I have more than 2 weeks worth of sketches. I will try to do them in order, but I may misplace a few.

Paul           Bleeding-Hearts

I just realized I have a very awful color pencil sketch of a tulip which I forgot to photograph. Maybe next week.

Self-portrait   Paul-Profile   Eye-and-Lemon-Sketches   Two-Trolls

I woke up to Beasley whining. I turned over to see Lola and Gunnar curled up (a very rare occurance), blocking the only place Beasley can jump onto the bed. Enemy of my enemy is my friend, indeed. My very first thought was, “I have to sketch that.” Luckily, my sketchbook was laying right next to me.  Boom.


I didn’t have as much time as I thought I did. It does make me laugh though.


Yesterday, while waiting for Sunday dinner, I tried my hand at last week’s lesson. The sketchbook pages everyone was uploading looked fantastic, but I just couldn’t get into the idea behind a grid. I think it is because I want sketching to be fast and drawing a grid and laying out a whole page with multiple sketches seems very time consuming. Although, if I have longer to sketch, I do think I will like it. My first attempt was a little disappointing. When I drew the grid in ink, I realized I only had 2 rectangles. I’m not very happy with the close up of Gunnar’s face either, but I do love the one of him running to me. I took Beasley and Gunnar to the dog park and got a lot of photos.


Today I tried the grid again. I had more time to figure it all out. I grabbed a small palette, but the paints were not good colors.  Luckily, it was more about practicing the grid than color matching.  When I put the watercolor washes in, I noticed the calligraphy pen was running into the water so I decided to do one more sketch.


Just a very quick sketch of a tulip so I could see how well I could paint with the calligraphy pen ink and water. Not too shabby.