Jagst hike & paint, Etappe 9


JAGST hike & paint, Etappe 9 from Baierles-Stein to Lobenhausen

Whilst Hohenlohe was still in a lazy mood , because the weather was unpredictable, changing from sunny to cloudy every now an then, I started to pack my backpack for Etappe 9.
My starting point was close to Baierles-Stein where I ended last time. Still a bit sleepy, but in very good mood I parked the car close to the recreation area.
According to the weather forecast there could be a thunderstorm later in the day, but as I planned to do more painting than walking far,  I did not worry. I was keen to hike in westerly direction towards Lobenhausen and followed the edge of the forest, high above the bed of the river.


First I sat down and drew fast sketches of far away forests, of windmills and two other landscapes of the extremely green area. Botanists would find lots to see and draw here. The surroungs are also covered with large wheat fields. Yellow rape fields in the distance begin partly to get their green seeds and the corn plants peek out of the soil. A peacock butterfly sat down in front of me and to my astonishment it stayed there quite a while.

peacock butterfly

At my first coffee stop I did a rough sketch of a dandelion plant into my sketchbook, feeling far from everyone and everything. As I continue down towards Lobenhausen, I could hear the sound of a church bell telling the time and saw two bikers. A very calm and hidden area.


I arrive at the barbecue/campsite with bathing possibility at the river. I am quite interested in painting the silos of a mill at the edge of the large camp area where childrens groups come for summer camps. The song of frogs in the nearby pond was the only sound I heard. I should have explored more of the area than just cross the small bridge, but time was tight and as always I wanted to get a few watercolours done.

pencil sketch Lobenhausen

As I finish my pencil sketch, heavy wind comes up and I can see that the weather forecast was right. In a hurry I packed my stuff. In the near distance I can see very dark clouds approaching.

 I hurried back to where my car was parked and just about 500m from the spot I was headed, heavy rain started. Just covered into my picnic blanket I sprinted to hide into my car. After that you really feel alive! My reward for the end of the day was a nice dinner at home to bring me back to a good energy level.

Material: No changes , still A3 and 20 x 20 cm Clairefontaine watercolour paper plus this time a watercolour sketchbook (dandelions)

Seen: 5 people, wild flowers, lots of dandelions spreading their seeds, heard: frogs and birds, other stuff: need to explore more about fauna. Ah, and not to forget the small rabbit who was at just about 1 m away from me hiding behind high grass. He remained there for quite some time before he hopped away.

Duration: Half a day with an abrupt end

Weather: Like in April, weatherforecast was right: rainstorm in the end…

This was an easy trail and not too far, which was good in the end for being able to sprint all the way back to the car. Next time my start will be in Lobenhausen. Can’t wait…

Map Etappe 9
wild garlic

Jagst hike & paint, Etappe 8

Jagstbrücke an der Heinzenmühle

JAGST hike & paint, Etappe 8, Heinzenmühle to Baierles-Stein (round tour)

Sure that if you follow a river, bridges are playing an important role for crossing it, to get from one side to the other, for connecting people. I already drew several of them on my way and voilà my first subject for the day is the bridge at my starting point, for which I climbed down to draw Heinzenmühles covered bridge over Jagst river.

This Bridge is so much larger than the smaller covered bridge over Gronach creek (see Etappe 7), but very similar in shape.

I arrived, before other hikers would appear and crossed the bridge for getting to the best painting spot – and later crossed again for continuing my hike. It is the starting point for Etappe 8 of my journey.  I continue to the left of the stream at the edge of the forest very close to the water.

Landscapes Jagst River

Again the odor of wild garlic is everywhere. The white flowers are already to be seen on top of the garlic leaves.

The river showed its calm face. I followed the huge bend in its course and in the beginning the trail was very close to the water.  In order to show somehow this kind of nearly U-turn of Jagst river, I decided to do some fast watercolours of different positions in one large sheet to make the bend in the stream somehow visible (see above).

After finishing my fast landscape watercolours, I continued following the narrow trail upwards –  it was getting steeper. ( I would not do this trail in rainy weather as it could be quite slippery and dangerous.)

I also perceive the sweet scent of wild phlox. There are large areas in the woods covered with this violet flower, which is fantastic. I could not draw it, as there was no place to rest…too steep.

The trail itself is not easy to climb, as lots of fallen trees obstruct the passage. Being able to climb is essential for this hidden path.

It was a real warm day and although it was shady in the forest I got very hot,  climbing up over stones, trees and undergrowth,

Finally as I reach the edge of the forest I am really done and follow the upper way back high above the previous track. The prospect of a picnic at the picnic-site „Baierles-Stein“ makes me feel a lot better.

„Baierles-Stein“ is a picnic area with a lookout, a fireplace and picnic tables high above Jagst river. Here you can see a lovely valley to the opposite side of the river and…you can hear the Autobahn, which is a bit disturbing. Everything else is beautiful.

From now on I was interested in how many versions of different grasses I could find and sketch, while having a good, hot coffee and snack in the shade. I sat on my picnic blanket and also sketched some wild flowers. After a while I gave up and trotted back to my car.

Material: Clairefontaine A3

Seen: 4 people close to the bridge, none on the steep trail, butterflies and insects, lots of wildflowers, wild garlic in bloom, ferns, waldmeister, lots of fallen trees because of the last dry summers and some storms

Duration: Long half day

Weather: sunny, about 20° Celsius

Thoughts: In between I thought: Will I manage to climb without falling or slipping away with my backpack…

This was the most challenging part in terms of fitness. Happy that it was just half a day this time. I was extremely tired in the end… as always, I am already looking forward to new adventures

Jagst hike & paint, Etappe 7


JAGST hike & paint, Etappe 7, Hammerschmiede: Gronach creek to Jagst river

The day looked promising. The clouds were still there, but the sun came through every now and then and I started my new stage of the hike & paint tour. At Hammerschmiede parking in Gröningen I parked the car.

This time I did not start at Jagst river directly, but walked straight towards it. The landscape looked freshly washed after the rain and the light green foliage sprouts everywhere. As I walk down the hill from the road to the hammer mill (Hammerschmiede) I already discover a lot of different wild flowers and herbs such as pink and yellow dead nettle, small anemones, yellow ranunculus, wild sage and small wild strawberry plants in full bloom. The landscape is developing and where a few weeks ago the trees were brown and unadorned, fresh green leaves or white flowers can be seen on some fruit trees.

After having sketched the blossoms of the tree I continued my way towards the mill.

Here is my sketch of the upper ensemble of the hammer mill.

Nowadays it is a museum and some kind of event location as well as restauration for hikers.

The old forge is still there and during events they make the whole big hammer forge work. There is also a baking house and an oil mill. Very spectacular.

The environment makes me feel positive and as I arrive at the hammer mill, I look for a place on the opposite bank for my sketch. The sky was leaded, nearly like a greyish-lavender colour, but luckily the wind was weak. The colours of the landscape, in contrary, were very intense. 

 I could have painted lots of watercolours at the mill, but I’ll save that for my next visit. First of all I had to continue crossing the river several times, either over large stone blocks or small bridges.

Stones by the water

 The deeper you dive into the forest, the more you perceive smells of wild garlic. At a ford where there must have been a bridge in earlier times (…because you can still see remains,) there is a place to picnic and also some wooden sculptures. For me it is the „forest of figures“. After that, the path soon becomes narrower and the Gronach gorge looks steeper the closer you get to the mouth of the much larger Jagst river. You cross the creek a few times on the way, which makes the tour very entertaining.

As I arrived at the mouth, I unpacked my picnic blanket and enjoyed the things I brought with me to refresh myself.

While I had that tasty coffee in the wild, time stood still for an instance and I so much enjoyed the moment. This is about the same, as being in the flow with a watercolour.

I started another watercolor of the light green forest and the small, covered bridge over the Gronach of which I painted the detailed foliage later in the studio as that would have been too timeconsuming. (This place is very close to the point I already drew in Etappe 5 – you see I did not get a lot further…which is great, as there is so much around that needs to be painted.  

Again I thought that the colours were extremely fresh and intense. Mostly there were different lush greens and contrasting reds and browns of the soil. The creek splashes into the river and the song of the birds make the drawing spot unique.

Then it’s time to start the way back through the gorge, the forest of figures, the wild garlic forest and getting back towards Hammerschmiede again.


Saved the best for last. Could not resist to make a fast sketch of another romantic bridge directly at the Hammerschmiede and was too done to see that the bridge was straight and not bent like in my watercolour. (I only discovered that as I finished that one in my studio).  Tired and satisfied, I went back to the parking lot. What a day!

Brücke an der Hammerschmiede
Material: A3 and 20 x 20 cm watercolor paper Clairefontaine. 
Used this time colored pencils for the underdrawing
Seen: lots of wild flowers, nice stones, about 9 or 10 hikers, one biker, heard birds and river sounds and smelled the scent of spring as well as the wild garlic
Duration: One full day of fun!
Weather: Good at the beginning, leaded sky, very cloudy with very few sunny intervals, 15° C, a bit of short shower in the end which prevented me to finish my last one, but it was late anyway…
Thoughts: Should have brought binoculars for birdwatch and should come back for sketching the little baking house and the turbine house …and, and, and….
Can’t wait to continue…

Jagst hike & paint, Etappe 6

weisse Anemone

JAGST hike & paint - close to Heinzenmühle

During the last few weeks the weather was not on my side and I therefore did not go far for sketching or painting. Whilst nature is getting a new dress, which means that spring is everywhere, it is time to do another small step in my Jagst-diary.

Due to the short timespan I had the day I wanted to continue my Jagst tour, I would concentrate on the „flora by the water“ only.  In order to be more flexible and faster, I used a smaller paper format as well.

After exploring the small white anemones on the ground (see above), I found some marsh marygolds at the edge of the water. (While fighting through the undergrowth I got some splinters as I tried to get a closer view of that marygold plant. ) Fantastic colours everywhere.

marsh marygold

My short episode ended quite fast and I added a few touches of colour later in the studio. Next time I absolutely would like to stay longer – so much to paint as nature explodes…

Material: 20 x 20 cm Clairefontaine paper

Seen: Focus on anything with blooms…therefore a lot.

Weather: Very cloudy, a few drops of rain and intermediate sunshine

Thoughts: Too short timespan again…painting outside is the best…unpredictable weather and obligations prevented me from painting more…my aim is to free myself up for more time to paint.


Jagst hike & paint, Etappe 5


JAGST hike & paint, Etappe 5, Neidenfels, Kernmühle bis Heinzenmühle

This 5th part of the journey dates originally from the end of February. It was the first unusually warm day this year. My report of that comes only now, as I would like to keep the story in the right order along the flow of the river.

For this journey I took a whole day off and changed my painting stool against a picnic blanket as well as sufficient provisions to have it comfortable on the way. My car was parked in Neidenfels.

At the start of the hike I could hear the noises from the nearby quarry. After passing a mill called Kernmühle I descend into Jagst valley. At first you would think you are in a fairytale forest with extremely green moss on trees and stones. The valley is steep like a canyon. You can see ruins (like in my sketch above) and you can see limestone formations on both sides of the valley. 


I see the first crocuses of the year which I definitely needed to paint. Further behind these little flowers there was a wooden stem that looked like a sleeping swan. It feels like being in an enchanted forest. After some time of continuing my way I see a scenic viewpoint where I make my first picnic. Quite luxurious to drink a good coffee and have a bite in the wilderness.

Muscheln aus der Jagst

After that the area of the valley becomes much wider and a large gravel bed opens up in front of me. A short time beforehand (maybe two weeks before) it had been inondated by the rivers highwaters and I find a lot of green-brown shells that matches the colour of the water. The stones however are not very polished, but rather angular and rugged (see my watercolour above)

After a while I reach the inflow of Gronach creek into Jagst river. If you would follow the creek you would reach within about half an hour an ancient forge called Hammerschmiede (this could be another side story…). I make a second coffee stop and paint a small covered bridge over Gronach creek.

Brücke über Gronach

After all those smaller size watercolours I change to an A3 to be able to get most of the bridge onto my sheet. The trees are very mossy and still have no leaves. The Gronach creek splashes into Jagst river at this point. Below you can see a photo of my sketch on site.

I continue, crossing the bridge towards my endpoint. Still a hike below the Autobahn bridge to Heinzenmühle. There I make two swatches of the colour of the riverwater and it is time to hike the whole way back to the car.  I am done and it was a long, long day, but the good thing is that I can feel the sun on my skin.

Material: Clairefontaine grain fin 20 x 20 cm und Canson A3

Seen: 1 grey heron, 2 ducks, 5 deer, 7 hikers and a few brimstones

Duration: A full day

Weather: Early spring weather at about 18 degrees C, sunny!!!

Thoughts: Total luxury. Great picnic. Can’t wait to be back on the track.