Plein Air Painting Again

October 15, 2011

It has been a spell since I managed to squeeze in a bit of Plein Air painting in the Austin hills.  Though I spent last Saturday at the Round Rock Chalk Walk and finished a small city scape. It’s not quite the same as venturing into our local creeks and hills to paint. There is just something special and energizing about painting out in nature.

Painting under the Oak tree.

Today, I joined fellow Plein Air Austin artists for painting adventures. I trekked out to Bull Creek Park located on the West side of Austin.  The park has recently been reworked to feature restrooms, plenty of picnic tables, hiking trails and a pavilion near the creak as well.  There you find limestone cliffs chiseled and weathered into  wonderful cliff faces.  Large rock slabs make up the beautifully carved creek bed of Bull Creek nestled amongst hiking trails and large shading oaks. There was even a bit of trickling water to sooth the mind for a spell of painting before the sun rose to high over the hills this morning.

Bull Creek offers plenty of great spots to paint. The hard part to plein air painting is of course toting all of your paints and easel to where you want to paint. The second part is settling on a spot and finding a workable composition. So today, I settled in under a trusty oak tree near enough to hear the babble of the creek but still offer plenty of shade and 2 agreeable compositions. On of the hill side shadows and a second of the rock slabs.

I find it best to stick with small formats (3.5×5 up to 5×7) when in the field.  This ensures completing a scene before the lighting changes significantly.  Yes, some times I can manage to paint more than 1 while out, like today.  But that doesn’t mean I’m satisfied with the results.  So I cam home to put a few finishing touches on the hill-side and try to resolve the rock slabs.  But even with good reference pictures of the rocks, I still struggled to get it together even here in the studio. I have to venture out another day for a better chance at resolving the rocks in to a solid composition.

So I shall conclude today’s painting with just the one little gem.  Yes, there are actually houses on the top of the hill edge, up there.

Bull Creek, South East face. 2011.10.15. image: 4.5" x 5"

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