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