Monday, June 2, 2014

Changing on the Fly

Sunday afternoon would be my last plein air session for the upcoming Paint Historic Waxahachie. The month-long event ends on Friday, followed by a wine and cheese reception and awards on Saturday. I've painted this view before but never en plein air.

Having spent many evenings at this location I knew that the sun would cast a wonderful warm light on the tip of the 1889 Masonic Temple (currently the Ellis County Museum), right around sunset.

I set up my easel well ahead of that moment so that I could get my drawing rendered correctly leaving me plenty of time to concentrate on values and colors. During this process of sketching my composition, a truck parked in front of me which completely changed the composition.

The driver suddenly noticed that I was painting as his group was walking across the street and asked me if he should move his truck. I immediately gave him a thumbs up that he was fine right there. It wasn't a problem for me as it actually improved the composition since I wasn't happy with a particular electrical box that dominates the corner there (see first photo).

I quickly altered my sketch and blocked in the truck, not knowing how long they would be parked there. Distant cars are not a problem as details are irrelevant and can easily be rendered from memory if need be. Even though this wasn't my center of interest I really needed to be accurate as far as details such as how things appear looking through the glass and the mid-values needed to keep this from competing with the focal point which was the tip of the Masonic Temple on the left.

I've completed about 8 paintings for this show, and all of them will be available to view and purchase on Saturday and Sunday in downtown Waxahachie at the old Citizens Bank building on the southwest corner of the Square.

On a side note - as a last touch I had to pick a color for the traffic light. Red, yellow or green? I settled on yellow and titled it #172 Sunset Yellows - 12x9 oil on Gesssobord.


  1. Well done. I was on 34 this weekend and passed a bunch of sunflower patches. I took a few photos and continued on my journey to Commerce. You should get out there it is beautiful.


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