“Afternoon on a Hill”, The Historic Botanical Garden, Barcelona

Mar 14, 2017

"El Jardí Botànic de Barcelona (mother and child with a cat), 2017, oil study on linen, 16x21cm

Last Sunday I went to paint outdoors, “en plein air”, in el Jardí Botànic de Barcelona,  the Historic Botanical Garden of Barcelona. This small oasis is located atop Montjuic and is often overlooked in favor of the newer and bigger botanical garden  nearby. The day was sunny, ideal for painting. The air, fresh and springlike, was scented with  lavender, “Pride of Madeira” (the violet colored flower depicted in the center of the painting), and Jasminum mesnyi (also called primrose jasmine or Japanese jasmine). This yellow, star-shaped flower (on the right side of the painting) is native to Vietnam and southern China and is most fragrant.

The small black cat was creeping around the lavender on the lower left, trying his best to stay out of view, but children see everything, it’s hard to hide from them! And aren’t they very good at leading us to such small wonders, often unseen by our adult eyes?

Painting here with the sunshine, the flora of the garden and life all around, I felt  both complete in my solitude, but also a part of something, both alone and not alone. At one point I thought to myself, “It really can’t get much better than this. Who knows what will happen in the future, but at least I’ll have this moment to hold onto and cherish.” A day to remember. A Sunday place.

For my mother, Dianne April Showers-Froh
March 15, 1950-December 12, 1991


Study for Painting, 2017, pencil on paper (sketchbook), 15x21cm

The painting and sketch I’ve presented in this post are both studies for a larger painting. I think of this painting as an “oil sketch”. My intention has been to show a little of the working process, how and where a picture begins. With spring arriving soon, I hope to paint outdoors, “en plein air” more frequently. Often I  work on a painting while outdoors, but then develop it further in the studio.

Thank you for your time.


Robert (Bob) Froh



Afternoon on a Hill

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I will be the gladdest thing 

Under the sun! 

I will touch a hundred flowers 

   And not pick one. 


I will look at cliffs and clouds

    With quiet eyes, 

Watch the wind bow down the grass, 

    And the grass rise. 


And when lights begin to show 

    Up from the town,

I will mark which must be mine, 

    And then start down!

Day is done, On Montjuic with the oil study and pochade box ( portableneasel)

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