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Sketching from life- outside!

Now that the weather is nice, it is time for one of my favorite things ever- painting and drawing outside, inspired by nature and things in real life. This can be a great activity to do on a day where the weather is just too nice to stay inside- you get to make art and enjoy nature! What could be better!

Garden Walk Sketch

Inspiration is everywhere, so don't feel like you need to drive far to see beautiful things to paint! In my youtube video I painted the wild plants that grow in the easement behind our house. I have no idea what plant they were, but they were blooming, so why not!

If you HAVE gone to a beautiful location, such as a state or national park or a wildlife preserve or heritage site, painting can be a great way to capture what you see! You are not allowed to pick flowers at public parks usually, since they are owned by the public and intended for everyone to enjoy.

Selawik Wildlife Refuge sketch

You certainly can't take home a majestic view! But have you ever noticed that cameras often don't do justice to what you are looking at? This is often becasue our eyes are more sensitive than cameras and can take in a much wider range of values colors etc. So when your eyes are plying the camera you can choose the focus of your artwork and try to capture some of what you are enjoying!

zion nat'l park sketch

You can also use this sketching process to take notes for yourself- almost like a visual journal. These can even be revisited to paint again from later.

sketchbook with color swatches

There is a lot more I could say about painting outside, but really you will be best served by just trying it out yourself! There is something that can always be learned by slowing down and really just spending time looking at things.

sketchbook and supplies

Sketching can be a simple or as complicated as you want- start out with whatever materials you have. The more you sketch and try things out, the more you may want to begin trying other ways of drawing or sketching, and you might want to experiment with more materials.

painting from life in acrylic at Turtle Lake State Park

The above photo was shot while I was painting from life using acrylic at Turtle River State Park, but painting with an easel outside gets a bit more complicated and will probably need it's own post in the future.

For lots of reasons.

If you need a bit more inspiration, I compiled a quick list of pointers for sketching from life here:

But most importantly, don't overthink it. Get outside, have some fun and make some art!

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