Monday, April 26, 2010

Artists Retreat

We had a wonderful painting weekend in the Texas Hill Country. I joined about 20 other artists at a really cool little "camp" - Roddy Tree Ranch - on the Guadalupe River. I painted and sketched all around the area, some on the river and some of the cottages on the "ranch" site. There were some beautiful views... as well as horses, donkeys, old tractors and cars, and colorful characters.

It was so nice to just wake up and have nothing to do but get my breakfast and walk out to paint. I worked on site for awhile, then we headed out to explore more of Ingram and Hunt, and eventually drove further out FM 1340 which has to be the prettiest drive in central Texas. It was just lovely.

I won't blog everything, but for those who can get on Facebook, I posted lots of photos of the area and some of the fun things we saw on the way.

I have to say, I am rusty when it comes to landscape painting. And everything was such bright colors... sometimes I felt like a kid with a box of crayolas. And part of Saturday was so windy! Wow... luckily that died down and we really couldn't have asked for better weather.

Below are my paintings/sketches. I learned on the last two to stop fiddling and leave it loose and incomplete.

First painting of the weekend... one of the cottages prettily lit up with morning sun. Not exactly how I captured it though. The sun is so very bright, that judging value is hard.

I set up to paint the horses/pony/donkeys - whichever was going to pose well... but some other artists joined me then and the animals got curious and continually milled about keeping an eye on us and begging for treats and scratches. So I did this quickie of the pony with a halo of sun around him.

Trucked our things into a narrow, wet path alongside the Guadalupe river to get a view of these falls. Dropped my brush in the edge of the water at one point. No other major mishaps though! You could tell it had flooded recently... a canoe was stuck with a bunch of debris halfway up a tree.

Ok - I was wearing out here maybe. I had such great views of the other artists at work here, but the green was so bright, the water so blue, etc. that things ended up looking very childish. I almost scraped it off, but actually, it probably has some merit with another hour of work. I realized here that I quit too soon.... give up too easily.

Took ONE more stab at it Saturday evening. I saw this view Friday when we'd arrived. 24 hours later I went back to this site knowing the shadows would be long with the sun getting lower in the sky (6:30 ish) . I suppose I had thought about it long enough that I had it in my head and my hand knew better what to do. I was pretty pleased with my results here. Also decided to not define everything, but to just focus on my center of interest. I worry too much about filling in the canvas/board.

Sunday morning, we went back to "my view" and I painted a house on top of the hill this time! This hill is above the river, which flows pretty much west to east here... so we were in a great spot to paint long shadows on the ranch.

I am so glad I went - what a great group we have in Austin - now over 100 members! They have paint outs weekly in some very interesting areas around Austin - lots of great ideas and companionship come out of it. I'm going to keep my plein air set up packed and ready and get out more regularly. Its good to get out of the studio and talk to people in real life some!


LeAnn Whitacre said...

These are so nice - even the rough unfinished look adds to the charm. And the adventure of going out with others sounds like so much fun! I feel like toodling on down to Austin and joining y'all one weekend!

Linda said...

Your adventure in plein air sounds like fun! Your sketches are great.

LindaHunt said...

I just love your gentle, beautiful touch!! These sketches are vey nice.

Kay said...

so much fun!! It sounds like a great place to paint

Arti said...

Looks like you had a great time out there! The paintings are lovely!

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