While taking a country drive in Wiemar, TX last week along High Hill Rd with Mom and Gracie (grandma), we passed by this view. I took a pic and jotted down mental notes of color and values. Update: If you’re looking for this spot, I now think this was near High Hill Cemetery, but on Seidel Rd. on the bend in the road nearby (thanks Richard!). It’s would be a great spot to plein air paint, so I hope you go find it!
Normally, a painter has a hard time finding good colors in winter (and a drought) when the grass isn’t plush and green. What a lesson for me. I dismissed the “norms” and forced myself to look at the scene for what it does have, and was amazed. Brilliant tans and yellow in the grasses, contrasting the green of the live oaks and complimenting the blues of the distance. How could I have been missing this?? And who doesn’t like and old crusty barn? This isn’t “en plein air” since it was painted back in a warm house after dropping off grandma, but who cares. It felt great to brush on those bold tans and greens!! I added some cows to give perspective of distance and show of how huge the live oaks are.
Making a painting is like a mini adventure in itself as you’ll see here. While visiting Weimar, TX, I headed down Sedan St (“Say-don”) and onto the Weimar-Dubina Rd looking for possible painting scenes while taking a jog. I’ve passed this ranch many times before and figured it was time to have a go at it.
The colors are a bit off as my iPhone tried desperately to make sense of what came though that ultra small camera lens in fading light. Changing the composition around a bit by curving the fence and adding a big Live Oak to feel more inviting, I came up with this 8×10 acrylic sketch. The shadows from the fence (hard to see in the original photo) were really cool.
A bit farther down the street I had seen a horse ranch with a new colt and it’s mom. I’m a guy, but it’s hard not to be at least a little sentimental when you see a gangly-legged colt and the Mom right there to protect it. Nature is awesome.
I thought it’d be neat to add horses into the painting and try my new oils (Thank you Spunky!). I drew up the design, watched a quick Richard Robinson video lesson and started spreading some pigment. I found some good reference pics to add a couple horses and a rider to give the painting a story of someone returning home. I had planned on adding the white fence and having the rider’s horse nosing a colt over the fence, but it didn’t fit the composition. So now I have a horse and rider looking left with nothing to see. Hmm. Flowers? Maybe? Hey, I have these awesome, vibrant paints, what the heck. Instantly, it was Springtime. Weimar needs rain so badly I figured I’d add a rain cloud. I also added some buzzards because, well, Texas has lots of buzzards…. and there it is. Maybe I should call it “Fall, no Spring with Horses looking at flowers or Buzzards”. Perhaps a shorter name would be better.
This is taken with my iPhone inside, but the colors are close enough to give you the idea of what it looks like. Onto new adventures.
Just found out I used gobs of two of the slowest drying colors available, so it’ll be quite some time before its available for sale. Oh well, it’s worth it and I’ll keep on using those brilliant colors!!
Here’s a commission work I’m working through (work doesn’t sound right…”playing with”…better). It’s going to be a fun one for sure! I asked my great aunt Helen, “What do you love about this ranch?”. Her single response “The view. I love to look out my window and see the view.”. I noted things about the view that gives the ranch it’s personality and headed off to do a quick color reference sketch.
This is the 8×10″ study in the field (literally) to get accurate colors the photos can’t seem to catch. Detail’s were left out and can be reference from the pics.
Here’s the first stage in going from the 8×10″ to a 24×36″ panorama. Next, I’ll sketch in the base colors to get the colors/values right.
Blocking in the background.
Done blocking in. Now to go back over it.
Added in the details over the base colors.
So, after about a month of painting, leaving it alone.. then painting again, it’s finished. She loves it!