Yesterday Myrrh and I went out and we both painted this Texas Barn. We hadn’t been out plein air painting in a while and it was great to get back out there.
To be honest, I was a little nervous about going out. I haven’t painted a Texas barn for a while so I was out of practice with the specific colors and light. But I suppose color is color, by that I mean I just paint what I see, no matter where I am. True, as I paint the same area more and more, mixing the ‘correct’ colors does get a little easier, but because the weather and the light changes hourly, it’s never the same. And it’s never easy.
But I did come away with this one painting of a barn that I’m happy with.
We drove an hour and a half northwest from Houston and ended up finding a group of structures including this red barn. I kept things simple and only painted the barn since this was my first time out in a while.
After we finished our paintings, we packed up and went for some Bar-B-Q sandwiches in Bellville. They were delicious! And it was nice to site down for a while and come away refreshed because I do stand while I’m painting.
My plein air list
After lunch we drove around. A lot. We have a lot of requirements for what we consider a good plein air painting scene:
- A safe place to paint is number one. Literally. We don’t want to be standing on the side of a highway.
- We prefer the sun above or behind us. We do not want to paint looking into the sun.
- Obviously a pretty scene. We usually gravitate towards structures and ponds. Painting water is always great. I’m trying to grow more as an artist and choose scenes that don’t necessarily have a structure, like a stand of trees. But bottom line is I like to paint structures, I like all the architectural lines and angles. So that’s why you see buildings in many of my paintings.
- We don’t paint on private land without permission.
- Some shade is nice, but we both have umbrellas which attach to our palettes.
- If we see a beautiful or unique Texas barn, we pull over! Or a pond. Or a farm stand. Or Bar-B-Q.
Well that doesn’t seem like too long of a list. But the hardest part is finding that scene that’s just right and in the right light. And one that’s not too far away. We see a lot of gorgeous barns but often we just can’t get close enough to paint them.
This reminds me of a funny story. Myrrh and I saw a wonderful large barn looming just over a hill, but it was a little far away, on someone’s property. We pulled up to the gate and noticed a sign with a phone number along the fence. It was some kind of cattle related business.
So we called the number and asked if we could paint the barn.
Do you know what the elderly woman who answered the phone told us? “No thank you, we just had the barn painted last year.”
Wait . . . . .
We didn’t get to paint that barn. Though it does always make us laugh to recall that story.
One out of two isn’t bad!
Finding another great spot proved difficult but we did paint again later in the day. I’m not crazy about my painting so I won’t show it to you. And I might even wipe if off so I can use the canvas again. It was beautiful to be out painting just as the sun was dipping towards the horizon, there was a nice breeze, the sky was beautiful pinks, blues and violets, and a bunch of cows came over to see what we were doing.
Wonderful day to be out plein air painting in Texas!