Yesterday my friend Myrrh Haslam and I headed out to paint for the day. I left my house at 6:45 a.m. and we met at our regular meeting place – Macy’s parking lot – then we put all our painting supplies in one car and drove west out of Houston. This time we had a plan, to go to Round Top and paint barns and hay bales. Myrrh had spotted some beautiful haybales when she was in Round Top last week and we made a beeline to the spot. The forecast was for 40% chance of rain and 15-25 mph winds but we were determined. We found the haybales and set up to paint. A couple of local farmers drove by and stopped, curious about what we were doing. One had a funny look when we said we were painting his beautiful haybales. He probably never considered his haybales beautiful before. Maybe still doesn’t.
Conditions were perfect, the sun came and went behind the clouds and there wasn’t much wind at all. A beautiful Texas November day, we painted for almost 2 hours in this location. By then it was almost noon so we headed to the tiny town of Round Top for lunch. We found a Mexican restaurant that was crowded and delicious. Crowded because every other restaurant in “town” was closed. Not much tourism on a Tuesday in November so we concluded most places are only open Thursday – Sunday. It was delicious though and I would go there again. Plus, they have an ice cream machine in the back and you can serve yourself a free ice cream cone – the soft serve kind. Bonus!
After our lunch break we were ready to paint. It’s so helpful to be able to go somewhere and sit down and rest between paintings. Not physically rest, but my brain needs a break from looking and mixing colors. So feeling refreshed we began our search for the next location. Myrrh had spotted some barns and we found them, but we decided the barns would look better with sunlight and shadows so we kept driving.
And then we found it!
Two words: Field. Gorgeous.
I don’t know what kind of field that is, or what that plant is, but it was beautiful. Monet painted haystacks again and again and again, I want to paint this field. I want to paint it in the morning, in the afternoon and in the evening. In all kinds of light. Imagine getting so excited about a field? I’m glad the farmer didn’t drive by at that moment, he would have thought we were crazy. I’m in love with his field!
It was already mid afternoon and some kind of front was moving in. You can see the darkening sky in my painting, and there really wasn’t much light for 3:00 in the afternoon, but it was still beautiful. We spent just over an hour on the side of the road at this location and each completed a study. Then it was time to pack up and leave. I said my goodbye’s and left the field.
By now it was getting darker and we had a 2+ hour drive back to Houston so we decided to start back, maybe stop and paint a small study if we saw something great. Ten minutes later we found a large barn that was only partway visible because of lots of wild brush in front of it. (Not the beauty of my field, but still painting worthy.) So we unloaded everything and set up on the side of the road again. It was late and getting darker and I didn’t get that little break for my brain after the last painting, but I painted anyway. That one turned out okay, mainly it’s a color study and I debated about wiping it off. (Debate was with myself and I usually win those.) I decided to keep it for the colors, there is usually something valuable in the colors. I have found that even if I feel like wiping off a painting, it’s a good idea to at least wait a day and then decide.
So we packed up and headed back to Houston. In the dark! I pulled into my driveway after a 13 hour adventure. What a glorious day we had. And I was so happy to come home with two paintings that I’m pleased with. Each will provide reference material for a larger painting. And of course my discovery of that gorgeous field, did I mention the field? God could not have made a more beautiful field, in my opinion. I know, the field and I need our own song.
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* “The Field and I” is a take-off on the 1956 movie “The King and I”, a love story starring Yul Brenner. It was remade in 1999 with Jodie Foster and called “Anna and the King”.