Friday, January 3, 2014

Closing Out 2013 en plein air

#140 Winter Bales - 11x14 oil on canvas panel
Over the Christmas holidays the weather was good enough to work in two days of plein air painting in rural Ellis County. I, along with several other artists from the area, eventually settled on the thriving community of Five Points, which is about 6 miles southwest of Waxahachie.

The best thing about these two outings was just discovering how beautiful this area is since I have never really explored it since moving here in 1997. Lots of rolling plains, rich farmland, an old cotton gin, white rock creeks, barns, open vistas and the very beginnings of the caliche escarpment that runs from Cedar Hill to Austin. That ridge forms a nice blue backdrop to the area that reminds one of the Texas Hill Country.

The people in the area seem to be quite friendly and interested in our "intrusion of culture" in their very peaceful community. One farmer stopped and told me he thought I was out there "grilling burgers." Once he saw what we were doing he seemed very interested in purchasing some of our art since he's a collector and even offered to let us paint on his property. "I'll even grill you some burgers" he told me.

#139 Five Points Cotton Gin - 12x9 oil on canvas panel
 Mary Rabien, a fellow artist and good friend, was talking to a man that lived across from the Five Points Cotton Gin Co-op and found that he was a little confused about us wanting to paint the gin... not realizing that we didn't want to actually paint the building itself, with buckets of Sherwin-William exterior.  Maybe a nice creamy yellow satin.

Along that line of confusion, the owners of the hay field where I was painting had heard that some artists were painting their hay bales. Laughter ensued when they finally figured out we had no desire to paint the bales themselves, though I suppose stranger things have been called art. Such is the way of plein air painting and interaction with people, which simply enriches the whole experience. Just one more reason that I love plein air so much because of the story behind the painting that happens more times than not.

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