The Joys of Plein-Air

This is the kind of weather that makes me want to be outside. And what better activity to engage in than plein-air sketching, right? Spending a day in the great outdoors, drawing whatever I see, enjoying the balmy air, hearing the birds sing…trying to make the rock I’m sitting on a little softer, shooing away the killer bees, worrying about the possibilities of rabid bobcats and coyotes, checking for approaching rattlesnakes every five minutes or so….

All right, so I’m one of those artists who’s more comfortable in the climate controlled and nicely padded studio. The great outdoors is a fine place, but there are a lot of distractions for the natural worrier. Still, it’s good to try new things, so I did make an attempt, not too long ago, to draw Golden Gate Mountain. It was within walking distance and easy to find an out-of-the-way place to sit. A sketch was about as far as I could go, given my pokiness in drawing, and even that took a couple of days. Trying to figure out lighting and clouds was just about impossible—by the time I’d make up my mind about something, it would change. But it was fun to see every rock and bush (’cause, yeah, I was using binoculars) instead of squinting at a photograph and wondering what all the blobs were. Did it make a better sketch? Haven’t decided yet.

golden gate mountain


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