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…


Jagst hike & paint project


JAGST hike & paint / Intro

Let me introduce you to my 2021 project.

The JAGST is a river in Baden-Württemberg. It is the main river in my area of Hohenlohe and one of three largest rivers to flow into Neckar. It’s length is about 190 km which makes it the longest of the three side rivers to Neckar river.

The JAGST hike & paint is my aim to combine my love for nature and for painting in a perfect way. There will be themes that interest me  like flora and fauna, the landscape, as well as the colours and movements of the water.

About once a week I will follow different stages, I will call „Etappe“ of the river by foot  (starting point: Crailsheim, the endpoint is not yet set ).

The initial idea is that each walking tour will be around 2 – 3 km depending on the time available. I will need to have enough time to paint and sketch at different locations by Jagst river and the surroundings, so it could be that I paint more time than I hike…

I try to continue from about the point I ended the week before in order to get a full picture of the route. There will be a description of  what I see, hear, smell, feel and paint and what I experienced along the way.

Not yet sure how long it will take, but for sure it will be a great adventure. Stay tuned for my updates of each part of the journey.

The plan is that a book and exhibition will follow.

Stay tuned weekly to get my story and update.

Yours Bettina