Today was our PAA trip down to San Antonio to paint Mission San José, one of five historic Spanish missions in San Antonio, all of which date back to the early 1700s. This study was left pretty rough,
primarily to leave enough time to work out a second, larger piece from a different vantage point.
I was pleased with the result for a couple reasons. The rough treatment seemed to capture the weather beaten appearance of this fascinating place, and I felt that the yucca plants in full bloom in the foreground paralleled both the ruggedness and sheer beauty of the church's exterior.
The aforementioned larger piece will be completed and posted Sunday afternoon. I completed the block-in on site, but had to leave before putting in the necessary detail. Time ran short, because we had to wait a good hour and a half for the sun to break through and give us a nicer light, while working on the first piece. I know, excuses, excuses.
This morning Laurel's plein air class met at Lost Creek, in southwest Austin. It was sprinkling on and off all morning, though we were able to paint from under a bridge spanning said creek. The title, Finding Lost Creek, refers to the fact that, in contrast to the conditions a year ago, the creek is flowing strongly enough now that it can be found by following the mild roar of rushing water.
As far as painting from underneath this particular bridge, I don't recommend it on a cloudy day. It was virtually impossible to tell the different color temperatures that I had mixed on my pallet, due to lack of light, and the constant looking back and forth from the relatively bright landscape to the dimly lit pallet. Because of this, I ended up doing considerable color adjustment and general tweaking, once I got home.
Being a conscientious taxpayer, dog owner and father of a high school student in perpetual motion, I didn't getthe chance to paint anything today. I did have a great walk with my dog Major, however, and rediscovered a trail we hadn't checked out in years. It has "paint-out" written all over it.
So, what does this have to do with the sketch above? Nothing. I just wanted to get at least a little drawing done, since we have plein air class in the morning. I drew this from a photo, while watching NCIS.
Above is my entry for this month's A Day Not Wasted Painting Challenge, which I first learned about on Dana Cooper's blog. My own personal church-painting binge seems to be breaking out, as our plein air group painted New Sweden Church on Thursday morning, and will be going to San Antonio next Saturday to paint the historic San Jose mission. In the meantime, time to do my taxes!
PAA met today out in Manor, Texas, about twenty-five miles from downtown Austin, to paint this vintage church built by Swedish settlers to central Texas. A plein air study doesn't do justice to the detail and craftsmanship that went into its construction. It was quite a challenge, but a lot of fun, even though it was chilly and windy. But I'm not complaining. 100º temps are not far behind.
Saturday's Plein Air Austin paintout was in San Marcos, along the San Marcos River a few hundred yards upstream from where it runs under I-35. The river is spring fed and the water crystal clear. The scenery, the constant din of the falls and the spring sunshine made for a great outing.
I was out of town all weekend and don't have any completed paintings quite ready to post, but I thought I'd let you know what I'm working on. The pictures below show the first two stages of my latest "large" landscape (24" x 20"), which I started Friday afternoon. It will be the last in a series of three painted from photos of my visit to Colorado last September.
The top picture shows the application of the main color, following the establishment of the main values using a dark neutral, shown in the bottom photo. I hope to post the finished piece tomorrow, after I develop the dogs in the foreground, soften some edges and add final detail. I'll also be posting a plein air painting from our PAA paint-out along the San Marcos River Saturday morning. It's close to complete, but the paint's thin in a couple areas and needs some final touches. Hope you had a great weekend.
Plein Air class today. This was our first venture outside the confines of Laguna Gloria for this batch of classes. The morning fog and occasional drizzle burned off before we met at Zilker Park at 9:00, and from then on, it felt like summer. However, with all the rain we've been getting, it very much looked like spring. Another beautiful day to be in Austin. The bluebonnets should be exploding any day now.
This picture was painted from some pictures I took the morning of my weekend trip to see my daughter's out of town swim meet. As I said in my last post, it's a beautiful drive (Texas beautiful, not, say, New England beautiful) and I'm glad I stopped to take some shots. The only problem was that the sun stayed behind the broken clouds all during the limited time I had to take shots and still make the meet in time.
I tried to paint this scene more sunlit than it actually was, but with limited success. I also was trying out gesso board for the first time, so it's pretty rough looking. I'll need to practice on it before I feel comfortable with it. Maybe a paint upgrade to Gamblin would help. If you paint on gesso board, any advice is welcome.
I drove by this beauty this afternoon in Caldwell [corrected — originally misnamed the town, Chandler] after attending my daughter's swim meet in College Station. There's plenty of natural beauty between Austin and Aggieland, but this red behemoth just screamed to be painted louder than anything else on the trip. The driver, Erich, and his wife, Jackie, were more than happy to accommodate me and came out a couple times to check on my progress. Painting en plein air has to be the best way in the world to meet and get to know people you would never have had the chance to, otherwise. And with today's weather around 70º, it couldn't have been more enjoyable.
This morning the Plein Air Austin paintout was downtown at the Lamar Blvd. footbridge. My vantage point was from the Town Lake jogging trail underneath the Lamar Bridge. The footbridge is about ten years old now and is a great addition to downtown. It has a beautifully unique design somewhat resembling the intertwined ends of a shoelace (not apparent from this angle). Its wide promenade with benches and shrubs is popular among locals and tourists, alike.
I titled this post First Class Palms because, you guessed it, today was the first session in our most recent plein air class. This is a pretty quick study, in terms of total time spent painting, as we spent a good bit of class watching and learning from Laurel as she demonstrated a line and mass block-in. When it was our turn, we were to simplify the main value masses into verticals (darkest darks found here); inclined planes (sloping planes such as mountains, hills or rooftops, which are the next lightest of the four; then the ground plane, which catches more light than anything except the surface of water at a distance and finally, the sky. This is a pretty down and dirty field study, in which I focused on these main values rather than on getting accurate color, and which is fairly obvious in this image.