Jagst hike & paint, Etappe 4


JAGST hike & paint, Etappe 4, from Barenhalden to Neidenfels

After a period of very cold weather, the weather finally seemed promising for my next hike.

Starting point was Barenhalden, the connection to my last hike & paint adenture. This time I planned a round tour by bike. To get back to where I started from, I have to cross two old stone bridges over Jagst river.

The upper watercolour shows my starting point with the partly renovated buildings of ancient Barenhalden Quarry.

From there I continue to follow the direction of flow of Jagst river to the left of the stream. The ups and downs in the landscape are great fun and the Jagst cuts deeply into the valley.  I see a tiny wooden bridge over a small creek (Schmiedebach) that flows into Jagst river. A scenic place, time to rest. 

wet-in-wet - nearly washed away by the rain

I observe water running smoothly over some steps of the creek. It looks like a flat cascade and from the moment I saw it my full attention was on the moving water.

Unpacked my watercolour equipment and started a direct watercolour without preliminary drawing.

After two washes of colours it began to rain. In the beginning I did not care and thought „nice and authentic“, but soon it became more heavy and extremely wet. I fled under the nearby small bridge and sat there for half an hour before I could continue. I packed my still wet watercolour (see photo above) into a bag and hoped to be able to save it later. Below you can see the finished piece.

Cascades close to Barenhalden

Let’s continue on muddy paths, up and down the valley. Direction north-west I come by a lovely pond and turn right to Neidenfels on a road which feels like heaven (beneath my bike tires). It is an asphalted road and leads downwards with a nice view to Burleswagen castle. I cross the stone bridge (first crossing of Jagst river and starting point for my next tour).

From here, I am on my way back direction Sattelweiler, Burleswagen on the official „Jagst Trail“ to Barenhalden. Then I had to cross the beautiful Barenhalden stone bridge, to get back to where I started from.


Material: Clairefontaine A3 and the flower sketches are smaller size

Seen: ducks, geese, bugs, 3 hikers, 1 biker, heard: lots of birds (one of them sounded like a car alarm), white sloe blossom is beginning and there are also some different flowers like wild orchids, cowslip and anemones of which I sketched some in watercolour. A light scent of wild garlic is in the air.

Duration: Nearly full day

Weather: A sometimes sunny and in other times wet-in-wet adventure, about 15 degrees C. (Clothes wet and dirty, in the end dry and dirty)

Thoughts: Found a new favourite place to add to my list of good places. Everything is so calm. Need to make a new support board for my watercolours, as mine broke while hiding under the bridge.

Learning: An umbrella could have helped against the rain…and never give up in difficult painting situations…

Wilde Orchidee

Made a few small sketches of an anemone and a few orchids I saw during my hike.

There were also white orchids in the shape of the pink one and so much more flowers…

Jagst hike & paint, Etappe 3

Steinbruch an der Heldenmühle
Steinbruch at Heldenmühle

JAGST hike & paint, Etappe 3, Auhof to Barenhalden

The best thing about my self set challenge is that it gets me out to see familiar places with fresh eyes and explore the nature close-by. 

Starting point was at Heldenmühle, which is very close to Auhof, where I ended last time. This next tour, for a change is done by bike, otherwise I would not be able to do this long hike in half a day.

I follow the signs of „Jagststeig“ and turn left after the quarry and follow its edges (which is left/west of Auhof).  The quarry digs deep furrows in the terrain and in some places you can see the rock layers quite well. The stone colours vary from light grey / rose to yellow ochre and dark grey-brown in shadow parts.

As you look down there are a few waterponds which have a wonderful green colour. A nice contrast to the stones around. It is like Grand Canyon (or Superpit) in a smaller format ; ) My sketch of the quarry looks somehow like an abstract watercolour.


A nice short bike ride through the forest with Jagst river to the left, I end up on a large lea with reed to the sides of the river. A few ducks can be seen there and at the edge of the forest you can perceive the scent of wild garlic in the partial shade of the trees.

After another few hundred metres you reach Weidenhäuser Mühle and this is where  I started an A3 Format watercolour.  The colour of the water ranges from white in agitated places by the weir to calm place which are very dark blue-green-violet. Below you can see my pencil drawing.

I continue the road up into the forest and as I reach Barenhalden I cross the bridge, get past the Motocross area and crossing Tiefenbach to get back to my starting point. This was a long and fulfilling sportif half day which as well made the creative juices pump.

Material: A3 and 20×20 cm watercolour paper

Seen: Ducks,  Beetles, 6 bikers, a few hikers, spring bloomers, wild garlic

Duration of stay: A very long half day – my longest Etappe so far

Weather: Spring is in the air, about 15°C

Thoughts: So great to be outside, making sports…I decided to continue…this part of the journey was very sporty and if you had a full day on hand you could also do it by foot.

Learning:  Good things are quite close in our very natural and calm area by the river.

Jagst hike & paint – Hexenbuckel via Heldenmühle to Auhof


JAGST hike & paint Etappe 2, Hexenbuckel via Heldenmühle to Auhof

The second part of my hike began just a few days before the sharper lockdown.

I was lucky to have a full afternoon of hiking and painting.

Starting point was in Crailsheim at Hexenbuckel, where I came by last time and I continued direction Heldenmühle.

Last summer I already drew Heldenmühle from the opposite side of Jagst river. This time I went to the side where the mill is and tried to make my pencil sketch. I discovered very fast that it was very tricky to stay there directly, where the big trucks come by. The dust was everywhere.  They come from the nearby quarry, loaded with gravel. That was a bit disturbing, so my first attempt to paint was left as a sketch and I finished watercolouring later in the studio.


I changed location. The place was extremely calm.  A few metres up the road (very steep and bumpy road following the signs of Jagststeig) at the highest point I knew it was worth to come here. I had a spectacular panoramic view of Crailsheim West in front of me.

As soon as I finished the watercolour, I left the place to let the hike end.  The last place I came by on my way home was Auhof (where I saw some horses, but that could be part of a different story…), then I went home satisfied with the days work.

Crailsheim West

Material: Canson watercolour paper A3

Seen: Gravel trucks in the distance, a few cars, 1 tractor nearby, a few horses

Duration: One afternoon

Weather: sunny, nearly 15°Celsius

Thoughts & Learning: Never try to paint too close to a gravel quarry. As always I thought of something to eat and a coffee.


Jagst hike & paint – Crailsheim

JAGST hike & paint, Crailsheim again, Etappe 1

This part of the journey took place about two weeks ago and was a paint hike under social distancing conditions with a sketchfriend I did not see for a few months. (At that time we did not know that two weeks later another more severe lockdown would come…)

But let’s get back to hike & paint: I met with Katharina in the early afternoon at the same parking as the last time to wander to the places I visited on my previous round tour, which are not far from Crailsheim train station, always following Jagst river.

The weather was very cold that day and we both had covers against the cold and warm clothes on. Our aim was to do some hiking and above all to paint directly on site en plein air. 

First location was the weir.  It is a very hidden place. This time I wanted to paint the more natural steps to the right in the direction of the flow of the river. That day there was less water and therefore less noise than earlier.

The aroma of the river was not perceptible because of the cold.

Two ducks flew above us and we saw a grey heron too as we changed location for a second painting. We did the same round tour to the railway bridge like I had done previously.

Eisenbahnbrücke Crailsheim

After having reached the railway bridge, I was sitting in the reed, sand below me. Very close to the bridge, I tried a different angle to get a more interesting perspective of the railway bridge crossing Jagst river. I was very interested in the reflections in the water.  It was very calm and the water shimmered. Now I was getting relaxed.

At the time I was close to finish, it was getting weirdly colder and after a full afternoon of hiking and painting we both trotted back to the cars, frozen to the bone.


Material: Canson A3 watercolour paper

Weather: overcast silver sky, 5° Celsius, no wind, but in the end chilly

What I saw: One painting friend (under social distancing conditions), very few people in the distance, 1 goose, 1 grey heron, 4 ducks

Duration: An afternoon of hiking and painting

Thoughts: Hermännle, Railway, inner restlessness at the weir and later total calmness and relaxation at the bridge (which you can see in my paintings)

Learnt: It is more fun to be able to have a half day on your hands and do at least two or three paintings outside in a row to get into the flow.

Etappe 1

Jagst hike & paint project start


JAGST hike & paint, Etappe 1

Crailsheim (railway bridge)

My starting point this first day is the city of Crailsheim which you can easily reach by train. It actually feels like winter. The trees are still without leaves.

My first location for painting by river Jagst is connected to the railway, as it is the large railway bridge close to the train station. The bridge covers the river as well as a broad strip of green and a walkway.

From a car park by the river I walked down below the bridge. Besides a few ducks and some walkers-by there is no sound but the sound of the water and every now and then a train crossing the bridge. The river has this unique natural smell which you also can experience while kayaking in the area.

Today just two hours painting time so I intend to come back to this location again and do some more wandering and maybe sketch another angle of the bridge.

Material: Canson watercolour paper A3

Seen: 2 ducks, a few passers-by

2 hours of walking and painting

Weather: sunny, nearly 15° C,

Thoughts: Calm area. Good start of my project although it was too short a stay – can’t wait to come back to paint again. The earth is still wet and cold, so a stool is obligatory.

Here is how I continued:

Wehr in Crailsheim

JAGST hike & paint, still Etappe 1

Crailsheim (at the weir)

My starting point this day is again in Crailsheim. I cross the small footbridge at Tiefenbacher Strasse and wander to the first weir by the Jagst from this point direction city centre. It is about opposite the place I sat last time (railway bridge) and it is very loud because of the roaring and bubbling water. Nevertheless some ducks flew away as they saw me coming and later as I sat down they came closer again.

The movement of water and its colours are very interesting and there are extreme contrasts from the white of the bubbling water to the dark of the stones and shadows in the water. The roaring is so extreme that I actually overheard my phone.

The smell is unique and I sit on a sand bed with river shells which indicates that the water must be quite clean. After having ended the watercolour I continued my hike direction Bergwerkstrasse, then crossed another small bridge by the river, then back to the car. A good second day although again it was only two hours time.

Material: Canson watercolour paper A3

Seen:  A few ducks, a few passers-by in the distance, a friend and one fisherman

About 2 hours of walking and painting

Weather: sunny, nearly 12° C, Sahara dust in the air

Thoughts: Good fun. Equipment is good. The area is wet and cold, so a stool is obligatory. I should extend my stays to half or full day for getting more into it.

Learning: Turn phone to vibration by the weir as it could be overheard…