A Second Day for Plein Air Painting in a Small Town

Hardware, Feed & Supply Store Maypearl, Texas

Hardware, Feed & Supply Store
Maypearl, Texas

Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning; that there is always another dawn risen on mid-noon, and under every deep a lower deep opens.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Circles”, 1840.

The season of plein air painting has dawned in Texas, and after a long winter of painting from photographs I am glad to stretch my limbs, go outside and engage the three-dimensional enveloping world that greets me.  I took Emerson’s mantra seriously this morning, deciding that yesterday’s feeble attempt at rendering the Dr. Pepper sign in Maypearl was an O.K. start, but I could do better.  And so today I returned to the scene of yesterday and gave the subject a second try.  The temperatures were unbearably hot, but the shade of the oak tree did its part, and I felt O.K.

I found Maypearl, Texas deserted on Sunday afternoon.  Only the biker shop and a cafe were open.  There were no people to be found up and down the sidewalks, though I did notice there were four other plein air painters engaged in painting the town, two in oils and the other two in watercolor.  I began around 1:30 and finished 4:00.  Two-and-a-half hours proved to be enough in the hot afternoon.  I took my time, and promised not to hurry, but also not to do too much.  It’s only a sketch.  Only plein air.  Only practice.  It’s my conviction that time spent in the field will pay dividends in the studio.  I loved the quiet of the town and the space in my schedule to pursue this kind of activity.

Tomorrow begins another weary round of school.  We’re in the final grading cycle, so it won’t be much longer.  Hopefully, I put some of the extra time into serious painting.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.


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6 Responses to “A Second Day for Plein Air Painting in a Small Town”

  1. coreyaber Says:

    Glad to see you’re getting out for plein air time, even if your studio time isn’t what you’d like. I am a bit envious. I haven’t had the chance to paint while out, though at least I’ve been getting some good reference photos. I am learning to sail this year, which provides some incredible sky views to study, though not the opportunity to paint them in the moment, at least not yet.


    • davidtripp Says:

      Wow, Corey, you’re about to enter the Winslow Homer world! I envy your sailing. No doubt you will push your way into some extraordinary watercolor pursuits there. I wish you the best, and much satisfaction in your new endeavors.


      • coreyaber Says:

        That’s right! I really need to study Homer closely now!


      • davidtripp Says:

        One of my favorite books is “Watercolors by Winslow Homer: The Color of Light.” It was a catalogue of his retrospective at the Art Institute of Chicago some years back. I’ve read it like a Bible and cannot get enough from it.


      • coreyaber Says:

        Thanks I will check that one out. The book I have doesn’t focus enough on his watercolors. Through wikipaintings I have been able to study them but I like reading about them as much as looking at the works


      • davidtripp Says:

        I think Homer is one of the most amazing autodidacts among the watercolorists. He was always experimenting, always learning, always discovering. He makes me feel so damned conservative and uptight. I need to cut some new furrows. This book certainly discusses his varied techniques.


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