Highway 16 Bridge over the Brazos
Plein air study of Brazos River Bridge
Saturday offered a break-out day for me. I set out early in the morning for a two-hour drive west to the Brazos River near Possum Kingdom dam. Rainbow trout are released there on five different occasions throughout the winter months. The day was wide open, as my wife Sandi was attending two separate equestrian events in Weatherford. Along the way, I had to stop at a classic auto show, where I photographed a row of six Hudsons from 1937-1956. I will no doubt be creating some watercolors of them sooner rather than later. I also encountered an “Edward Hopper” painting composition–a magnificent Victorian house high on a hill, bathed in the morning sunlight. Stopping also for a breakfast add-on, as well as a gasoline fill-up, cooler of ice for (hopefully) rainbow trouth and some bottled water, I began to wonder if I would make it before noon. I did.
Last weekend, I was distracted by fly fishing, and at the end of the day, too pooped to get out the easel and paint, so this time I decided to reverse my priorities. I set up my French easel alongside the boat ramp and tried to capture this magnificent Highway 16 bridge over the Brazos. I worked as quickly as possible, mostly wet-in-wet, and then did some sharper definitional work, enough to capture where the details would lie. The sun grew hotter, my back and neck started to ache, so I broke down the easel, rigged up the fly rod, struggled into my waders and boots, and descended to the river. Like last week, I lost four and managed to get one on the stringer. I guess that’s what comes with a barbless hook (for me, anyway). The size 20 elk-hair caddis does manage to lure 10-12 inch trout to the surface, and I’ll never cease feeling the thrill of watching a riser bust the surface.
By 3:30, I was feeling weary, and knew that I had a two-hour road trip waiting for me, so I packed it in. On both legs of the trip, I thrilled to the reading of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, narrated by Matt Dillon. The timing was funny, as I encountered the row of parked Hudsons in Weatherford, just 15 minutes after Sal Paradise asked Dean Moriarty how he had gotten across the United States so fast to visit him. Answer: “Aw man, that Hudson goes!”
Thanks for reading. I’m still tweaking this watercolor and may have a different “look” by tonight. Either way, I plan to be through with it by today’s end. I have bigger fish to fry!