"C.M. Millican Blacksmithing" (click here to enlarge)
12" x 12" Alla Prima Watercolor
140# Arches on Panel
The past couple of days, I've been "iced in" by the Arctic blast of winter that has Texas (and most of the U.S.) frozen solid. What a contrast in temperatures! January 29th - only 4 days ago, the thermometer hit 80 degrees here in North Texas! On that glorious day, I joined 30 fellow members and guests of Outdoor Painters Society in downtown historic Grapevine, Texas where we spent the day painting en plein air.
In the morning I set up my En Plein Air Pro watercolor easel across the street from a working blacksmith shop. In the 3 hours of painting, there was a steady stream of people in and out of the open barn-type doors amid sounds of metal being "pounded" into shape by the blacksmith. I spotted the building about a block away and as I approached, I noticed a set of 50's-style blue metal lawn chairs in the entrance. As a teen, my family had a set of chairs exactly like that...they were even the same color! That settled it...this was the perfect place to paint!
Later that afternoon I went to Nash Farm, a short 1/4 mile drive from downtown Grapevine. This was the Nash family's farmstead that is now a historic landmark with antique farm implements, the farmhouse and outbuildings including a huge red barn.
I wasn't able to complete the painting on location, but I was able to get a good color study and composition for use to do a larger studio piece. The photograph doesn't reveal a lot of detail in the shadows but there's some gorgeous 'bounced light' inside as well as an old tractor parked midway between front and back doors.
By the way, this photo gives you a look at my favorite watercolor easel...the En Plein Air Pro! To the right of the painting is a 5x7 sketchbook with my 'thumbnail' drawing. Note that on the same page as the drawing, I sometimes test color and value before I commit a brush load to the painting surface.