I found myself especially smitten by the glow-y quality of sunlit maple trees in Lost Maples Park. Something about the extremely saturated color punctuated with dark, vertical tree trunks kept calling my name. For this one I set up right on the trail, which was kind of an open invitation for hikers to stop and look. They were very respectful and most gave a little encouraging word as they passed. Several asked if they could take pictures... funny to think I will be showing up in vacation albums!!! :)
In addition to beautiful trees, Lost Maples State Park has expansive meadows with these gorgeous, soft grasses. When a breeze passes through, they blow this way and that and almost seem to have currents. And when the light hits them, they seem to glow.
Earlier this week I spent a couple of days camping and painting in Lost Maples State Park, known for its magnificent fall foliage. It required a little hiking to find the best color, but we strapped our backpacks on and got ourselves to it. There were some pretty spectacular spots along the trail and the weather was just perfect. Although one hiker insisted that it was "WAY better last year", I was pretty impressed.
Here I am with my painting buddies, Carol Marine and Penny Lentz. See what I mean about that color behind us??? We had a great time painting by day and giggling by night. :)
Last night, I joined some friends for a figurative painting session and had such a blast. This was so far out of my comfort zone, but all in a GOOD way. Challenges are like that. I tried to focus in on big shapes and not worry too much about details, but it was hard! Maybe next time I will get a face painted on the figure... :)
This is the last painting from my trip to the Texas coast... the "backyard" of a bait and fishing shop near Aransas Pass. It was really fun to explore new territory and discover new images down there to paint. In the spring, one or more of these paintings will be on display in the Outdoor Painters Society's annual exhibit, "Plein Air Southwest 2010-11". I am pleased to be juried in and participating for a second year!
This little house turned shop is called "Potters on Cotter" and, you guessed it, the owners sell beautiful, hand-thrown pottery. I love the way the morning sun lights up the front of the store - it's a very welcoming little spot just a few blocks from the beach. Another one from my trip to the Texas coast.
Back to paintings from Port Aransas on the Texas coast with Outdoor Painters Society... In the afternoon on that first windy day, we found a sheltered spot behind a building on the bay. This small shrimp boat was tied up to a wonderful, dilapidated dock. The scene had so much character; but it was tricky and I think I had to start over 4 times!!! Though it may sound counter intuitive, my final solution was to go smaller (I had been working on a 9x12). The reduced format forced me to simplify and got me over the hump. Whew!
November skies in Austin are so incredible... last night Plein Air Austin met to paint the sunset over Lake Travis. This has become an annual event for us and last night was no disappointment. The sky was extra dramatic because of a large cloud coverage. In the last 20 minutes before the sun disappeared the sky changed about 5 times, and each new color was more stunning than the last. It was like watching fireworks, audible "oohs" and "ahs" rang out as we painted fast and furiously!
Last weekend I went down to paint on the Texas coast for a few days with good friend and painting buddy Lynn Cohagan. We met up with other members of the Outdoor Painters Societyand had a great time. The sun could not have been sunnier... and the wind could not have been windier! We attempted to avoid 20+ mph gusts by hiding behind my car in this boat yard. Though you can't see it my painting (which looks remarkably calm) we were literally holding onto our easels to paint!!! You know what they say, "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger!" :)
It's so interesting to watch how the rising sun changes the colors of the landscape. This series of paintings depicts the transformation of a single morning in about 15 minute increments. In the final painting, the fog on the water lights up and mutes the distant shore. The cloudy sky also added to the show on this particular morning. It was a fun exercise in observation.
As the sun rises just above the horizon, there is a moment or two when the sky turns prismatic in color. Painting it en plein air can be a challenge because it all morphs so quickly. I began by blocking in the shapes on the horizon while it was still dark(er), and then focused completely on the the sky as the colors began to emerge. I committed to a moment in time, which meant I was soon painting from memory and NOT chasing the changes in color and light. (Hard to resist, but necessary!) This is the second of my series of three small sunrise paintings.
A couple of weeks ago, I got out early in the morning to paint the sunrise. I finished one on location (will show you that tomorrow) and then came home to paint two more of that magnificent, 30 minute light show. It happens fast! This was the "crack" of dawn, which happened just before sunrise, and the first in the mini series of three.
Last week, I made a visit back to Westlake Beach, the site of many of my small paintings in August. This scene has been in my head since my very first painting there. The play of the light and shadows stops me every time and I have stored up my observations in anticipation. I wanted to wait until it was cooler and I could take more time to really "get" all the elements. A sunny, fall day was just the ticket! :)