A Hunter-Gatherer Plein Air Artist Stalks Waxahachie, Texas

Beginning of a Caboose Attempt

Beginning of a Caboose Attempt

I could feel a change in my breathing and pulse as soon as my Jeep turned southward on Highwy 287 toward sunny, soulful Waxhachie.  This was to be a genuine sojourn into solitude.  The further I drove, the more the cacophonous clatter of today’s classes retreated.

I was on the hunt for a subject filled with history, memories, stories.  I was happy to see that reporter Andrew Branca from the Waxahachie Daily Light published my comments after a nice impromptu interview on site.  You can read his article in the following:


I was trying this afternoon to get beyond what I call the Edward Hopper Plein Air Syndrome.  His watercolors are spectacular, and I love poring over them in several books I’ve acquired over the years.  Every time I find one in a museum I find myself rooted in front of it, unable to move on to other works of art.  But Hopper was known to grouse and snarl his way about, looking for the perfect composition to paint.  He was overheard muttering: “Light isn’t right.”  “Composition misses.”  “Doesn’t look quite right.”  Sometimes he returned home empty-handed.

In my sixth year of Paint Historic Waxahachie, I confess that I fell into that same trap every year, even up to last year’s event.  But not this time.  I may not be able to claim that my body of work overall is just as strong currently as it has been in previous years (I never know how to assess my own collection of watercolors), but I do know that I have been more assertive (and happy) this year, making more confident decisions on subject matter and getting down to the business of plein air painting.  To date, I have nine completed watercolors, all 8 x 10″ and matted and sleeved in 11 x 14″ white mats.  I still have this week to produce more work, and I’m eager to do it.

When I arrived in Waxhachie, the sun was hot and the weather humid.  I set up beneath some trees in a wooded area and tried to work on this caboose and renovated train station on the west side of town.  I was afraid I had screwed up the painting beyond repair, as it got very wet and out of control.  I decided to stop and head back home, where more work was waiting for me.  When I pulled out the painting tonight, I thought it might be salvageable.  So . . . tomorrow when I finally get back to Waxahachie, I’ll see if I can straighten this one out, otherwise I’ll begin anew with a different composition.  I’m optimistic that I can “fix” this one, however.

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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