Plein Air: Belton, TX at Dana Peak Trails

"Live Oaks at Dana Peak (Stillhouse Lake)"  (Click image to enlarge)
“Live Oaks at Dana Peak (Stillhouse Lake)”  ~6x8ish.   (Click image to enlarge)

This will be a quick post. I came to Harker Heights, TX to be with my parents for Christmas and found a few free hours on Christmas Day to venture and paint. It was full sun and 65 degrees. Perfect. This is a scene of some Live Oaks along the Dana Peak trails with Stillhouse Lake in the background.  It felt so good to paint again after working 16 out of the last 17 days (busy time of year for the welding company).  To sit in the golden grass, feel the fresh cool breeze and look closely into nature was like coming home after a long trip.  The usual frustrations, like the wind blowing over my easel (twice) and paint drying on my brush before I finished a full brushstroke, didn’t matter. I just lashed a nearby branch to my easel and gobbed more paint on my brush. It simply felt good to be there in that moment. It wasn’t about getting a “perfect” painting. I look at this result and see a hundred mistakes, but I don’t regret one of them. What I see is the pleasure and warmth of the sun hitting the oaks and grass in contrast with that amazing blue-gray of distant hills in the background.  I see a hundred failures urging me to look closer, gaze deeper at what nature is expressing because it has so much more to say. Today, when I played disc golf with my dad, I couldn’t keep my eyes off the trees and grass as if the world itself was a canvas. All I could think about was, “If there’s a God that painted these trees and the grass, what brush did he use and how did he paint it?”.  I can’t wait to try again.

The sun had shifted the shadows and changed to scene a bit, but you can see what I was looking at.

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