Saturday, August 3, 2013

“People don’t take trips – trips take people.” – John Steinbeck

I have been painting Plein Air for many years. Most of those years I did not know what I was doing--I mean, I knew how to paint! Isn't that all I needed? Did I learn!!! My in laws lived in beautiful Carmel, CA and every year I wandered up and down the coast, exploring beaches, woods and the picturesque cottages of Carmel. 

I didn't keep those paintings, but I did keep the memories! I loved those times.

When my husband took a job in Houston in the early '90s, I was not thrilled. My family was here, we had moved when I was in High school, my Dad worked for Boeing contacting with NASA. So it was great to get to spend time with them, and we had close friends here, Robert and Clair Pennington. But we came here from London, England, and had traveled Europe and enjoyed the charm and fairy tale quality of the countries there.

But as far as landscape painting in Texas, I couldn't see it. It seemed so flat and colorless. so I focussed on learning the old masters, portrait and pet paintings. But three years ago I was inspired by a Houston artist, Steve Parker. His pantings of Texas were so beautiful--where did he find all this beauty! He opened my eyes to a rich, diverse landscape with beautiful, tall trees and wide spreading oaks--quaint barns and old shacks, blue rivers and layers of fresh, vivid color.

A few months ago an artist friend of mine, Tim Schneider,  told me about a little gallery in a town called Round Top, TX. He mentioned he painted there often. It was a beautiful June day, and Jeanette Powell, Boots Tyner, and Margaret Lowenberg joined me to explore Round Top and see what there was to paint. As a group we had gone out Plein Air painting a couple times a year--mostly to Independence for the gorgeous Texas Bluebonnets.

I loved it so much I went back the next day with Joan Breckwoldt. This was the trip where I painted the "Flowers on a Fence" painting in the previous post. It was early in the morning on a rather overcast day. Joan spotted a bit of brightness showing through the trees, and we pulled over to see a pretty little barn. We were unsure if we could just pull off the road and paint--was this someone's property? Would we see them with their gun at any time? We were very close to Round Top, and on the shoulder of the road, so we were brave. We parked the car and opened the hatch and set up our gear. 

The time seemed to pass away and nothing seemed to exist except the beauty of the landscape and the focus to capture it's spirit. 

We have gone out every week since then, wandering the backroads of Texas, looking for pretty scenes in the quaint farms and ranches and hills of the lone star state. And we always find scenes which inspire us, and seem to just grow more beautiful as we paint them in the changing light.

These trips have always taken me to new and exciting places, and I am always looking forward to the next new discovery. This blog is dedicated to reliving those trips, and future outings as well.

"After the Hay is Cut" 8 x 10  Travis Road outside Bellville, TX

Thursday, July 18, 2013

From Round Top to Bellville and back again

The past few months have been a joy to journey along the backroads of Texas, painting plein air the first pretty landscape to come along. Despite the Texas heat, the mosquitos, the chiggers, wind and other miscellaneous elements of nature, it has been a wonderful experience! The joy of finding one beautiful scene after another has been an incredible experience. And having found a fellow artist to share it with, Joan Breckwoldt, makes the journey even more enjoyable!

Here is the first find--a beautiful little barn and a fence full of flowers:

"Flowers on a Fence" 8 x 10 In Round Top, TX

As I get them photographed, I will add more paintings and further info about wandering the backroads of Texas!