Hinman Island Park: Plein Air Painting of a Waterfall

Waterfall by Hinman Island 6x8ish, acrylic on paper
Waterfall by Hinman Island 6x8ish, acrylic on paper

Here a quick post of a plein air color sketch from yesterday that I saw when going to Landa Park (see last post). I arrived after work around 4:30 and wandered around looking for the best angle, which ended up in the water. Then came the planning on how in the heck I’d paint there. Here’s a riverside view of the falls just as I arrived:

Side view from when I arrived at the falls.
Side view from when I arrived at the falls.

Eventually I found a spot only about four inches deep with good gravel near the bank and set up there. I’m surprised the easel didn’t take a plunge in the current! Over the next three hours, I silently celebrated the extra hour from daylight savings time and tried my best to catch the motion of the scene. The water was actually warm, matching the outside temps! Strange feeling when you expect a “cold spring-fed river”.  There were three or four potential paintings in there, but I decided to keep it simple with just one main rock, the foreground water and all the colors in the waterfall itself (it’s not just white!). In the shade, the water look light grey-blue, in the sunlight it was very white with a hint of yellow ochre and there were subtle hints of reflections too. Where the foam was, it was the brightest I could get – thick Titanium White right out of the tube. By the time I left, the scene changed dramatically with the setting sun, so I packed up to make the last changes at home. Here’s the scene from where I sat:

Scene from where I sat just before sunset.
Scene from where I sat just before sunset.

It always feels sort of uncomfortable when attempting a new subject. I’d done a waterfall painting in Miller Springs before, but got so frustrated I “Judy chopped” it like the West Virginia ninja. Trash.  In this city, it’s a scene worth learning to paint and I plan on doing a series of them. It’s my intention to attempt getting into a gallery by the end of the year, and New Braunfels loves their spring fed rivers! I just signed up for the Virtual Art Academy, a very structured online course that many of my art friends recommend.  Hopefully this will fill in some gaps in my art education and spell improvement to my ability to translate what I see in nature onto the canvas. My inspiration is so you can really connect with the feel, or concept of the scene as if you’re sitting there. That’s definitely worth investing in!


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