Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Exploring Rural Ellis County

#129 Ellis County Farm at Sunset - 9x12 oil on panel.

 This time of year, colors abound in spectacular Texas sunsets and the leaves are just beginning to turn in Ellis County. Lately I've been bringing my camera along with me on my short commute home from Ennis to Waxahachie, hoping to find a few photo references at sunset along the way. I was looking for rural settings with winding dirt roads, trees casting long shadows, barns and wide-open views with lots of atmosphere. Since the sun sets around 5:30 I had to work (and drive) fast to capture the light before it vanished.

I stumbled across an old farm near Parks School House Road just southeast of Waxahachie, complete with two barns and some nervous cows that didn't know if I was there to feed them or harm them. It was a great setting near a hay field that must have been good hunting grounds for two local birds of prey I flushed (a red-tailed hawk and an owl) sitting near each other and waiting for an evening meal along the fence line. Trudging along before my light was gone I got some great photos for future paintings. I'm looking forward to using them and possibly going back for some plein air work.

My first painting utilized two references because I didn't want the center of interest, the larger barn, to be straight on.

As this painting progressed I became more nervous because I was liking where it was going. At this point there is a far greater chance of ruining it than making it better... fighting the urge to work in too much detail.

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