Evening by the Railroad Trestle, March 17, 2010

Railroad Trestle south of Division St. in Arlington, Texas

O.K., there is not much to look at yet, but plenty to discuss.  I have wanted to watercolor this location since last summer, and just now got around to it.  The location is just south of Division Street in west Arlington, Texas, near Rush Creek.  I have looked at this low-clearance trestle for several years, and only recently decided that I wanted to set up on location and photograph a Union Pacific freight as it passed over.  The posted picture represents the 35 minutes I was allowed before the sun set and I lost the light (6:23-6:58 p.m.).  I spent most of the time sketching out the overall composition, and continually erasing to get the subject on the paper the way I wished.  Not much time was allowed for the first series of watercolor washes.  But though the sketch is in its infant stages, I feel very strongly that this could translate into a strong little watercolor composition.

The train never came.  So I packed the gear back into my Jeep (as the light was too low to continue working) and wouldn’t you know–a Union Pacific freight blew by, high-ballin’, and I never heard it approach!  I was below the tracks, and the Division Street traffic was providing plenty of noise, and since there were no intersections nearby, there was no reason for the train to blow its whistle.  By the time I jerked the camera out of its bag, the locomotive had already cleared the trestle, and the following auto transport cars were not interesting enough to photograph.  Oh well.

I cannot describe what I feel when I am outside sketching with watercolor en plein air. I know that artists understand what I’m addressing.  It may surprise some to hear that I’m just as thrilled in such moments as I am when I’m standing in a Colorado mountain stream, fly fishing, waiting for a trout to rise.  Every pore of my flesh is tingling, as I am immersed in the sounds of babbling streams, feel the breeze in my face, smell the air, and hear the birds chirping and insects whirring in the tall grasses.  I felt all those sensations this evening.  The sun was setting low, the landscape was lighting up with the most amazing lemon yellow highlights in the wild grasses, the Division Street traffic was swishing high up behind me, birds lined the power lines, and I was in the element–totally immersed and contented.  It was the highlight of my day.

Thanks for reading.

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2 Responses to “Evening by the Railroad Trestle, March 17, 2010”

  1. lindahalcombfineart Says:

    Your right. The composition is very interesting and the first washes have good color. I can’t wait to see the next step. You are right about the peace and calm that comes from walking, sitting, standing, fishing, painting, etc, etc, etc in nature. The freshness and beauty always lifts my spiritsand makes me smile.


  2. Olive Sheperd Says:

    You can definitely see your enthusiasm within the paintings you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to mention how they believe. At all times follow your heart.


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