From the Sketchbook: Québec and Vermont

I recently took a trip to the East Coast for various family visits and got the opportunity to sketch some non-Colorado scenery for a change. One of my goals this year is to be more diligent with my sketchbook, and I’ve been enjoying the challenge of finding creative ways to get the information down quickly enough to fit with my four-month-old baby’s schedule.  With luck that can mean sketching the whole thing from start to finish in one sitting, but more often it means getting quick compositions down as quickly as possible and finishing the sketch later on.

The sketches (and notes) are so interesting years down the road.

A lot of information is missing in the darkest and lightest areas of this photograph when compared with the sketch.

My sister sent me this handy leather travel kit to hold all of my various sketching supplies. It’s small and compact and can hold a palette, a 5×8″ sketchbook (perfect for a Moleskine watercolor notebook) and various pens, pencils and water brushes. It’s hard to resist sketching when all the supplies are ready and waiting at a moment’s notice.

Unfortunately you can't buy this handsome art bag because she made it herself.

Here it is in practice on Île d’Orléans (near Québec city.)

A few baby breaks were necessary to complete this one. (Don't mind the dark circles under my eyes. We were having some sleep issues.)

The sketched version. I seem to have made the building taller and narrower. It just goes to show: always double-check the measurements!

Sometimes the day’s schedule makes it impossible to capture elaborate scenery, but it’s still possible sketch something small. An interesting branch or leaf can be quick and fun. Here’s a close study from the blueberry patch in the nature journaling style of John Muir Laws.

I think I ate my own body weight in blueberries during our visit.

The main problem with sketching is that it takes time, and I don’t want to inconvenience my companions by making them wait for an hour while I work. I didn’t have time to complete the following painting of Bingham Falls in person, but I liked the atmosphere of the swimming hole and wanted to add it to the sketchbook. I compromised by completing the rough sketch at the falls, then adding the details and color later. It may not seem like much, but the time spent observing the scene and setting up the composition was invaluable and made for a nicer final sketch than if I had worked from my photographs alone.

A steady stream of swimmers jumped off the rocks. They were perfect for showing the scale of the scenery.

I’m hoping that all this practice will help speed up my process so that I can squeeze in even more sketching in the future.

Do you sketch when you travel? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks!

New Prints, Plus a Freebie
Two Books and a Baby

1 Comment

  1. by Kath on September 14, 2017  5:29 pm Reply

    Nice sketches!

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