"The best thing about painting outdoors is that all of your senses are alive and active" Mel Stabin*
Leave painting gear by the door
The key to painting or sketching outdoors regularly is having your supplies always ready to go at any moment. I have a variety of back packs that I leave visible in my studio at the ready. Some are partly filled and some are empty. Even better, I leave some by the front door.
Bringing less is more
The greatest deterrent to getting out the door to paint is thinking that one needs to bring a lot of painting supplies. I have seen students bring almost every item from their studio. I soon realized when I started working outdoors years ago that it is more important to observe, draw and paint than to return home with a finished product. If I come back with a watercolor ready to be framed then that is an added bonus but not a necessity. I paint outdoors because I enjoy the “process”. Bringing only the bare necessities gets me out the door more often.
Working close to the ground
I’ve been “caught on camera” painting in various places and situations. Because I love plein air painting and sketching, I am not likely to be deterred by weather conditions unless they are too severe. I prefer sitting as close to the ground as possible whenever I paint. I place my palette, water container and brushes on the ground. This eliminates the need for a table.
Tips on painting and sketching outdoors
3. When cold, a good wind-proof shell or jacket is a must. Set your back to the wind and you’ll survive seemingly cold temperatures.
5. Although it is sometimes complicated to install a painting umbrella, it is well worth the trouble to avoid painting in direct sunlight.
A picture is “worth a thousand words”
I hope these suggestions will motivate you to go out and paint/sketch whenever and wherever if you are not already in the habit of doing so. Plein air work is what infuses my paintings and drawings with feeling. When done frequently I am convinced that on site work develops one’s personal style.
Raynald Murphy sca
* Quoted from WATERCOLOR Simple, Fast, and Focused