‘Cupcake Thunderclouds’ — Austin landscape painting by Valerie Rawlings

Austin Landscape Paintings

This is a Austin scene on Ranch Road 620 at Four Points (out west near Lakeway), showing a shiny Hey Cupcake trailer next to a rustic Thundercloud Subs shop. We drive by this all the time, and I thought it would make a great landscape painting. I’m particularly grateful for the unique decorations, colorful lights and wild pastels these businesses chose to paint their establishments.

Thundercloud Subs is an iconic Austin sandwich shop chain, founded in 1975. They have a friendly, hippie crew, and successfully compete with the major sub chains. Hey Cupcake, launched in 2007, is representative of the modern food trailers that are popping up all over Austin now. It was nice to be able to juxtapose these two eateries in a single landscape painting, to show the contrast and changes that have taken place over the last 30 years.


‘Venice Landscape with Karen’ by Austin landscapes painter Valerie Rawlings

Favorite Landscapes: Paintings and Painters

Here is one of the first landscape paintings I did in my new Austin studio. I painted this in oil-on-canvas from a photo I took years ago in Venice, Italy. Actually I was taking a picture of my cousin Karen taking a photo. That’s her hand and camera in the lower left corner. I suppose technically this is a seascape, and doesn’t belong with my other landscape paintings; but I’m leaving it here for now.

The subject is the Santa Maria della Salute Basilica, built in 1630 to honor the Virgin Mary. This church has been depicted in numerous landscape paintings, and has an artistic bonus. Inside are several wonderful religious-themed oil paintings by the Italian artists Tintoretto and Titian. That’s one of the cool things about Venice — there is a lot of great art displayed in the most mundane places. No garish ads or signage; it’s just there!  One of the great things about painting landscapes is that it brings back great memories from places I’ve visited.


‘Austin Skyline’

Austin Cityscape Paintings

This is the first of my Austin landscape paintings, and it shows the downtown skyline taken from the south shore of Lady Bird Lake. Again, I suppose one could quibble that this is a cityscape (and not a landscape painting); but there is actually quite a bit of land painted in the lower section. 😉

It’s amazing how much the Austin skyline has changed in the last few years. When I first arrived in Austin the landscape skyline was dominated by the Texas Capitol building; now there are several high rise condos and hotels that dwarf all the other buildings. This landscape painting was done as a housewarming gift for Bruce’s son Rob who lives in one of these high-rise condos.


‘Colorado Sunrise’ by Austin landscape artist Valerie Rawlings


Landscapes Painted by Valerie Rawlings

And here is my latest landscape painting – ‘Colorado Sunrise’. I painted this while attending a landscape art workshop in Denver with my cousin Karen. The instructor was Ken Elliott, a world renown artist who works in several media: oils, pastels, monotypes, monoprints and collages, along with original oil paintings and giclee prints. Although he uses vivid colors, his transitional landscape paintings produce a calming and tranquil feeling.

In addition to the coloration advice and practice painting landscapes, we were looking for some relief from the Texas and Florida heat (consistently over 100 degrees); but it was just as hot in Denver! In the class, we painted from photos of Denver area landscapes. This one shows the day’s first sunlight reaching out across a meadow toward the rolling Colorado hillside. But, now that I’m back in Austin, I can’t wait to apply these new techniques to some Austin landscape paintings!

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