RIVERPAINTINGS, Etappe 2 – from Hessenau to Elpershofen

JAGST hike&paint

Leofels

My second adventure of the hike started on a lovely January morning.  It was quite cold that day, temperatures around zero and the trees in the forest where partly frozen in the morning.

The hike would be a round tour and lead me to Elpershofen, which is about 8 km all in all to get back to my starting point (round tour).

First I drove to the ancient ruins of a castle called Leofels which is right above my real start in Hessenau. I thought I would have a lot of  time to sketch but the weather made it more difficult for me this time. Actually it was so cold that my hands hurt while sketching, although I had gloves on… began this direct watercolour of the ancient walls and entrance to the ruin of castle Leofels. It did not really dry so I gave up in between and finished the contrasting dark tones in my studio.

Hessenau, Mühle

Then I drove down to Hessenau and parked my car where my last hike & paint Etappe ended and started my second one.

Began a pencil sketch of the mill in Hessenau, which was my todays starting point for the hike, but it was so cold, that I even did not begin to watercolour.  I packed the paper away to colour it later at home.

The mill building was nicely renovated and the winter trees had no foliage but a few dry leaves.

Had a short talk with a lady at Milch-Häusle and off I went. Took the way to the right side of the river direction Liebesdorf and it began to snow while I was walking.

Jagst river was very broad and the valley was not as steep as it was earlier. I had a wide view, although the snowfalls turned the landscape into grey-white.

As I reached Liebesdorf I had to cross another bridge which was a concrete one and sofore not worth sketching it.

Then the way to Elpershofen was not as nice as I thought because of the extreme traffic on the street but there was no nicer way where I could walk, so I followed the street.

My highlight: To my surprise the small restaurant was open to warm me up and I had a good warm late lunch and some time to relax  before going out into the cold again.

It did not snow any more and the sun came out. I made a fast sketch of the bridge in Elpershofen. No details, not many colours…

Jagstbrücke Elpershofen

The landscape was turned into a white wonderland.

There is also a weir in Elpershofen, where in summer people go swimming. In winter there is total quiet. Saw two white herons on my way back along the other side of the river and one fox!

From down here, I could see the castle ruin of Leofels high above the trees and knew that I would soon be back at Hessenau where the car was parked.

Elpershofen will be my next starting point for my hike&paint at Jagst river.

This time it was really beautiful, but sooo cold. Thought that I would sketch more, but it was impossible to do so. Most of the colour work was done in the studio this time, but the experience to be out at any weather is a great one.

bei Elpershofen

Did not need my picnic snacks this time, as I was lucky to find some restaurant for the lunch break. Going out to sketch in these weathers is a great experience, anyway I would prefer warmer weather…

Can’t wait for the next hike&paint adventure…

Jagst hike & paint, Etappe 14

Jagst hike & paint, Etappe 14, autumn colours close to Kirchberg

Over late summer, new developments, some commission work and a few fantastic sketching events,  I somehow lost track of my beloved Jagst Project. Usually I am very much focused, but this time I let the project pause for a while, as this is a very personal thing and there is neither a deadline, nor an endpoint to it. 

Slough Bush

My todays idea is: Painting close to Kirchberg and getting down the fall colours on paper. My eye was caught by the colours of a slough bush first. This is what I was searching for. 

Here is a closer view/cutout of my first watercolour of the day:

Slough Bush cutout

A lot of small fruit on my large A3 paper. I was quite concentrated, but I need to move and hurry a bit to get another one done… on my way I collected lots of beautiful coloured leaves from the ground. Maybe I could use them later for a study.

I started another A3 watercolour, but did not get it totally done. Actually I sketched till I reached the point you see in my upper unfinished watercolour, before I got too cold.  I packed my stuff and the did the rest of watercolouring back at home, before I freeze to the bone. Below you can see the finished piece.

It was again too short a time and I enoyed very much sketching closer views. The outside temperature was the most challenging thing. Although I had a stool, blanket and very warm clothes, in the end you cannot deny that it is already fall.

Back in my studio I unpacked the leaves I had collected and ended the day with a leave study.

Leaves

Somehow I underestimated the challenges of weather in fall, plus the days become a lot shorter. Need to adapt.

Material: A3, 300 g watercolour paper

Weather: Sunny, but very cold, about 6 ° Celsius, so without my blanket and my gloves I would not have made it…

Thoughts: The colourful surrounding inspired me to collect the very different shaped leaves and make a study out of them. From now on my trips will always be more far from home. Hope the sunny weather will last for some more weeks. Not sure yet if I will paint with snow and even lower temperatures…

Learning: Better begin earlier in the day, as it gets dark too soon.

Had a lot of solitary fun „in the woods“, but my aim for next time is to draw some landscapes as well. Cheers Bettina

Jagst hike & paint, Etappe 13

Kirchberg Panorama

JAGST hike & paint, Etappe 13, The city of Kirchberg

This summer is quite wet and cold and it was difficult to find a day of good weather in between the mostly rainy periods for my next painting adventure.

(In the meantime, I made the best of the situation and was busy working on a watercolour book which shows lots of plein-air watercolours, I painted during our official USk Hohenlohe outings. The book can be purchased through THIS LINK.)

Back to the next Etappe:

It was around midday that I arrived in Kirchberg and my plan was not to actually hike this time, but to explore the city of Kirchberg further. Being too close by the river is not quite a good idea anyway, as the soil is still muddy. Therefore I thought it was more clever to stroll through the city. My early afternoon began with a panoramic view in A3. The viewpoint and the paper format is different than the last panoramic sketch I did of Kirchberg (which was 20 x 40 cm).

After this one I continued towards the castle…

The early afternoon sun was shining brightly and I sat down in the castle Café and ordered an iced coffee. It felt like being on a holiday.

From my comfortable seat and table I could hear people talking about bike tours and how beautiful and unique the area of Hohenlohe is, while I sketched part of the castle building with the warm yellow sunshine on the castle walls. The plants in the patio made me feel like being in a mediterranean country.

Schloss Kirchberg

After my Café visit, with new energy, I made a quick sketch from the entrance towards the castle. Some of the roses are in their second bloom and the water fountain made for a sympathetic ensemble. It was getting late, and I was keen to sketch some more different views, so the pencil sketch had to suffice as a rough sketch and the watercolouring of that one was finished in the studio.

Then I did two more very fast and smaller A4 sketches:

One from the bridge towards the characteristic tower and the last one of the day of the slim funny old house on the way back to my parked car.  I did not even look any more at painting a sky into these sketches, as I was really done. A very productive day. In the end I got extremely tired and my eyes were sore from looking.

 

Kirchberg

These two A4 sketches look large because of the paper format on the blog, but are half the size of the upper ones.

Small house Kirchberg
Needed a huge late evening meal as a good finish to this extreme and productive sketchday.
 
Material: A 3 in the beginning and A4 in the end for the fast sketches.
 
Duration: Nearly 8 hours
 
Weather:  Sunny and warm, a nice summer day…inmidst a long rainy period.
 
Thoughts: Had a great weekend and was very fit that day. During sketching I mostly felt relaxed and in the flow. The world is good.
 
Learning: With the second painting I am a bit ambivalent, as I like the left side, but I am not happy about the position of the tree in the middle.  I should have planned that better and the learning is to better think ahead.
 
Anyway I am looking forward to the next time, while I recover from that long day….;)

Jagst hike & paint, Etappe 12

JAGST hike & paint, Etappe 12, from Ockenauer Steg to the city of Kirchberg

Rain, rain, rain…I had to wait close to two weeks to try and find some more or less dry intervals to the start of my new Etappe no. 12.

Jagst river had very high waters because of the heavy rainfalls.

The day I started my next hike close to Ockenauer Steg, my mood was indecisive. Past the bridge I journeyed on to Kirchberg where I had painted several times last year.

The castle and part of the old city could be seen from far.

A good place to paint in the morning light. A large linden tree is half way to the city and the linden flowers spread their spicy scent all over the place. Three wooden benches to sit comfortably on this special energetic site below the large tree.

Time for a good coffee and as soon as I installed myself to sketch, I began a panoramic city view in direct watercolour. By then I was getting into a more focused and relaxed mood as with direct watercolour you need to be focused, otherwise you mess up.

Lateron I walked towards the city, but before entering, I turned right to get closer to the river.  As soon as I reached the river again, I painted the old large stone bridge below the city walls. I tried to also capture in my watercolour the strongly moving high waters, that rushed through the bridge.

Kirchberg bridge

Then I made my way through Hofgarten towards the roundtour below the castle with all the nice, tiny gardens right outside of the surrounding city walls and this is where I found again a lookout bench to have another sip of my tasty coffee.

Some animals also crossed my way. Besides grasshoppers I also saw a squirrel that showed no fear at all and sat there munching something. After that, I entered the castle and crossed the city through those tiny streets. On my way back to the car I saw lots of flower fields.

The common chicory (watercolour, see above)  is a plant that now grows everywhere by the small gravel roads. I really liked the form and colour and the shadowplay of the plants and grasses, so I had to paint it.

It was getting warmer and there could be some thunderstorms coming later. After the flower painting I decided to head back to the car and drive to a bathing point by the river to have an evening refreshment after my work was done.

In my head: …“Dreamer“ by Ozzi Osbourne, Sketchtour in Loket from 3rd to 5th of September
 
Material: A3, 20 x 20 and 20 x 40 cm watercolour paper , watercolour sketchbook
 
Seen: Very few people. Nice chats with locals. The smell of fresh linden blossom is incredibly nice.
 
Duration: Full day
 
Weather, after a long rainy period:  Warm and moist, in the end 28 degrees Celsius, no wind
 
Learning: Subjects to paint are endless in this beautiful area of Hohenlohe…

Jagst hike & paint, Etappe 11

JAGST hike & paint, Etappe 11 from Mistlau to Ockenauer Steg / Kirchberg (round tour over devils blade)

Who had ever thought that there are waterlilies on Jagst river. Shortly before I reached Mistlau I saw them (…and how could it be that I did not see them last time?) After I parked the car, I returned to that place to draw the river with some waterlilies on the opposite side as well as the tree shadows in the flowing water.

The warm weather and the relaxed feeling made for a holiday like summer atmosphere. Flora evolves and transforms week by week. The white blossoms in the elderflowers bushes are not any more visible. The bloom nearly ended already. A few ducks could be seen on the opposite side of the river.

I later crossed the concrete bridge, went through Mistlau and made a 10 minute sketch at the end of the village. A butterfly sat on my left hand and I tried to stay still for what seemed an endless time.

The last two weeks we had several strong rainshowers and the plants are growing enormously. Unlike in the last three very dry summers everything is extremely green.

Mistlau
Sketch of Mistlau

I reached the flower fields again and painted some of the flowers like poppies, marguerites, thistles and below white bluebells, scabiose etc., till it got too hot. Now the large, blue Viper’s Bugloss and violett thistle peak higher out of the other flowers in the meadow.

I reached the forest and it felt much nicer to be partly in the shade from now on. Then, Jagst river opens in front of me with a large wooden covered bridge, called Ockenauer Steg. Picknick time.

A few wooden benches allow visitors to have a beautiful lookout from the bridge. Btw there were a lot of wooden seats all along the trail. Great to watch and have a rest. The way is very well maintained.

I crossed Ockenauer Steg and soon reached the parking which will be my starting point for next time.

From now on it is the way back to the car.  I follow the round tour through the forest, past a place called Teufelsklinge (devils blade) and the mill I was at last time.

A fantastic day with lots of birdsong, marvellous weather and trillions of dragonflies.

In my head: Will we get back to the hustle and bustle and hectic of our former pre pandemic lives soon? Pros and cons.
 
Material: A3 watercolour paper , watercolour sketchbook
 
Seen: lots of bikers, dogwalkers, ducks, dragonflies, butterflies, one very small wagtail, heard frogs, smelled the fainting scent of wild garlic, which is soon gone and a wonderful wooden scent in the forest.
 
Duration: Another full, unique day to remember
 
Weather: Mostly sunny summer weather, 28 degrees Celsius, no wind
 
Learning: Drink more water, then the head works a bit better.
Sketch of bathing place by the river