Back in the Atmosphere!

February 21, 2015

I’m back in the atmosphere…of Plein Air painting that is.    It did take a push and a shove but I am getting there.  So I am learning to make the most of my time to enjoy what I love most.  Painting and visiting new places…so en Plein Air it is!

Today, we were graced with awesome weather and even a spot of sun now & then.  So I ventured out to the stomping grounds of older Austin – Hyde Park. Oh, but what will I paint?  There was so much to choose from, I finally just started painting where I was standing.

Quacks Corner Table - Hyde Park, Austin

Quacks Corner Table – Hyde Park, Austin

The trick is to find an agreeable spot, off the sidewalk jet not obscuring the painting view.  The limited sunlight did prove challenging in mixing accurate colors.  But I mustered my brushed and pushed paint.

The neighborhood is so active and hospitable!  I was so busy painting, I did not have time to take in all the yummy smells from the well-known restaurants.   There is so much more to capture.  Yes, I shall go back.

For now, I hope you enjoy my posts and stay tuned for future painting ventures.

 

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Lost creek cliffs…

October 17, 2013

The recent rains have overflowed many of our creek beds including Barton Creek.  More importantly we are beginning to see the edges of fall colors too!  But not before the wildflowers have one more crazy burst of colors.  So I ventured out to Lost Creek to find a bit of inspiration from our great weather and local terrain.

Lost Creek Cliffside Trail 2013_10_17

Lost Creek Cliffside Trail 2013_10_17

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Thursday paint out  offered a chance to capture the play of morning light on the lower cliffs along the swollen rushing creek bed of Lost Creek in the west hills of Austin.
It was a bit crisp for an early start but the warm sun very energizing.  It was a nice change to paint the early kiss of fall colors beginning to transform our landscapes.

Boggy Creek Farms

October 12, 2013

Today, I ventured out to Boggy Creek Farms.   A local farm located in the east heart of down town Austin just off 7th street.  The farm grows a large selection of veggies and greens as well as fresh eggs!  Of course we can always find a variety of scenic spots to paint as well like neat garden patches, chicken coops, and parked tractors.

By paint out norms it was a very brief painting.  More of a impressionable sketch of  the garden statues.

Boggy Creek Farm Garden.  2013_10_12

Boggy Creek Farm Garden. 2013_10_12

This morning I offered to take my son along for painting too.  We could share painting and time together.  But the morning brought a few more challenges to consider.  It was indeed a Boggy fall morning with muggy heat and swarms of mosquitoes lying in wait.  *yes, that was with mosquito spray.  I think they were immune or very hungry.

So out of self preservation, it was a very short paint out , but I am pleased with the expressive paint strokes.
A nice gesture to inspire another larger painting soon.  Once I stop itching…

Archway to the Oasis.

October 8, 2013

Archway to the Oasis.

Archway to the Oasis. 6×6 2013_09_21_02

Click here to bid!
The Oasis offers panoramic views of the Texas hill country as the Colorado river winds its way to the dam, even in our record droughts, it is still beautiful.  But all must enter through this archway to the Oasis.  I felt drawn to painting it as the morning sun began to warm the stack stone work and the people began to trickle into grab an early lunch on the balcony.
The Oasis on has a long history of great views on Lake Austin.  The original structure burned down some years back and the family rebuilt the existing complex of multilevel balconies and scenic views.  Good to know that there is still a great place to see our hills stretch far into the horizon over a bite to eat.

Saturday offered a beautiful sunny morning although cold to once more venture out for painting here in Austin with our local Plein Air Austin goup.

Of all places to visit Rainey Street!
Rainey street can be found north of the river just east of Congress Ave. The neighborhood has a long history of quaint bungalow style homes from around 1934 here in Austin.  The past few years have seen a new revival of the area in the form of restaurants and Beer gardens.  Now the tiny houses are shadowed by the growing high-rise condos and boom of life in downtown Austin.

Rainey Street

Rainey Street

For myself this paint out offers a stroll down memory lane.  Rainey Street was / is the very same street my grandmother spent many summers playing as a child.   So I bundled up and set off to find my painting inspirations.

My first stop was to find 80 Rainey Street.
IMAG0166

Long before the dams were built the river rose almost every year and the lower edge of Rainey Street was often under water.  Several houses were washed out, so each time my grandmother’s family would move higher up the hill.  80 Rainey was her child hood home.
So surreal to see so many homes renewing along the street and know several more are simply no more. Gone are the homes at 60 and 68 and 82 and the old oak tree in the back yard where she once practiced her coronet.  But the house at 80 Rainey still remains, the challenge was to find beauty in the play between light and shadow.

80 Rainey ~ Memaw's childhood home.

80 Rainey ~ Memaw’s childhood home.

So I set up my easel, broke out my brushes and paint.  It was great to enjoy painting out side even in the brisk cold.  I decided to crop in on the recognizable feature of the house the corner bungalow windows and the lovely shadow patterns.
My intention was to capture the once love of a family home many generations ago and I believe that I did just that.  In such a simple morning paint-outI might have found new inspiration to delve a little deeper in the Austin city and landscapes.  There are more paintings to waiting to be found.

Soo Cold & Plein on SoCo

December 10, 2011

So Co Cold.. But I still want to paint the hustle & bustle of our Winter season here in Austin.

Winter painting comes with many challenges. Most importantly COLD!

SoCo Skyline

Our winter in a damp cold this season. It seeps past the layers of socks and denim to wick away what body heat is left after the warmer temps have fled.  It has definitely set in full force here with high temps in the 50’s for the past week, not to mention the wind.   No, I don’t adapt to cold very well.  Our summers are in the triple digits, I can tolerate being hot.  But being cold is just plane miserable.  Yes. I have figured out how to mostly stay warm when I’m out.  mostly.  But cold toes are Miserable.  The damp always finds it’s way to my poor toes, even with wool socks. So I can only bare painting for most of an hour.  After that’s its just torture.

Secondly, the lighting effects caused by hazy winter sky’s (which make it colder too).  Natural light reflects differently from sunny afternoons and colors appear to be more muted in the haze, but warmer in contrast to the cool winter light.  Which means adjusting my palette to accurately record what I see, when I’m out on sight.

SoCo Colors

This morning’s paint outing with Plein Air Austin was one of our local favorite spots.
SoCo!  in Austin.

South Congress offers eclectic shopping in vibrant little shops sprinkled with unique artisan tents and colorful food trailers.  One of a kind shops like BigTop, Turquoise Door, Continental Club, Austin Boots and more.

SoCo overlooks the state capital building and downtown skyline below the river.  It is a popular tourist attraction and favorite place to shop for many Austinites.

Today’s painting pic was a popular spot on a cold morning: JO’S.  Another great example of Austin’s charm and colorful buildings

Winter cup of JO's, 5x7, 2011_12_10

Notice how washed out the building is in the background.  That is a great example of the change in natural Winter light.

SoCo Jo's 2011.12.10 5x7

Updated image of the color study

My studio was not so chilly,  today.
Many more corners await to be painted.

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"