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.
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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.

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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"