Sunday, August 18, 2013


I recently spent four days painting in and around Fredericksburg, Texas. I've painted in this area many times, but I've never really just gone out on my own cruising the back roads to see what I could find. This time was different and I had a blast. I averaged four paintings a day over four days which is cranking out the work when you're just driving down the road hoping something good to paint shows up. I learned a very valuable lesson "do not search for a painting location with a preconceived idea of what you want to paint"!

I discovered if I went looking for a particular scene I never found it. On the other hand if I just drove down the road and let the scene find me, I found an abundant supply of paintable locations. I also learned that the most valuable tool a plein air painter can possess is the ability to do a u-turn on a two lane road.

With this in mind what follows are a couple of my paintings.

First up is this hillside cedar with a few yellow wildflowers in the foreground. This is on the south side of Highway 290 from Johnson City to Fredericksburg. 

This is my typical setup. I use the En Plein Air Pro easel with either a Bestbrella attached or a freestanding ShadeBuddy. If I'm near my car I will use the ShadeBuddy most times. I have my backpack hanging on the easel. I find this weighs it down and gives the easel a nice sturdy feel and it helps keep it from blowing over in the wind. 

Notice that both the panel and the palette are in shade. It is vitally important to have the surface you are painting on and the surface you are mixing paint on be in the same light. 

Here's my palette setup and it is set up the same way every time.

The initial block in. Notice I blocked in the foreground in a warm burnt sienna and the distant ground in a cooler blueish color. This helps me separate the layers right at the start of the painting.

Half way done. The major land masses are blocked in. Now I'll work toward finishing up.

 The finished painting. About an hour and half start to finish. On to the next location.

Bob Rohm

Next I met up with good friend, Bob Rohm, to paint along Cow Creek outside Marble Falls.

Painting almost completed

I chose a location in the riverbed. I liked the green maple bush against the gray river bank. It was so hot there was only time for one painting then I hit the road looking for next painting.

Completed painting #2

The third location for the day is along some road going west north of Johnson City. At this point I was lost but enjoying the drive.

Again using the ShadeBuddy for protection and shade.

This painting is mostly about the sky so I knocked in the farm scene along the bottom fairly quickly.

Completed painting number 3.

My final location of the day is this big tree along the side of Highway 16 north out of Fredericksburg. I had spotted this location on a previous trip and had logged it into my GPS. So I looked it up and drove straight to it. 

About half way done with the major masses blocked in.

The completed painting and by this point I'm exhausted, looking for BBQ and a beer to end the day.

Below are photos of a couple of other scenes that interested me but I didn't have time to stop and paint. So these will be done in the studio at some point.

Thanks for traveling with me today. If you liked this post and would enjoy more like this one, please leave me a comment.