069. Urban Sketching & The Fear of the Blank Page

Now that spring has sprung, I find myself giving up my snuggie and slippers for my sneakers and sunglasses. 

I grab my sketchbooks, pens, watercolor travel sets, and just go. 
Sometimes I don't know where I'm going, and I just walk until I find something that inspires me.

Sometimes I remember a cool building or sunny bench that I want to revisit.
The only constant is that I want to paint.

There is a huge difference in painting from a reference photo vs. painting from life. When you paint from a reference photo, everything is already flattened conveniently to a 2D surface that you can copy.

From life, your eye must decipher the depth, understand the shadows and highlights as the sun dances over the grass or through the tree limbs. This carries an added challenge, when you're trying to capture the scale, perspective, and colors of what you see! However, with just a little practice, it becomes much easier, and far more rewarding. 
In my previous post I shared my Plein Air sketchbook tour, and talked about how meaningful the experiences were when I was painting. 

Besides, there's nothing like a change in environment to get out of an artist block or a creative funk.

Time and time again, I find myself craving a good sketch/paint session, but have no clue what I want to make! So rather than fuss over it or overthink it, I simply GO! 
Seriously, I just throw everything in my bag and leave my house.
This creates momentum. That momentum steamrolls any of my doubts or fears, and from there, its no longer about "I feel like sketching but I don't want to ruin my sketchbook or I don't know what to paint" and it becomes "where can I sit and start sketching?"

It may seem so simple and obvious, but that is the difference between a stack of blank sketchbooks and ones full of stories, experiences, and adventures!

Plein air painting/urban sketching has become as much a part of my work flow as answering emails. 

Here's a little video from a recent sketch session at Inverness Castle. I hope you find it inspiring or at least you can catch a hint of some traditional scottish bagpipes in the distance :)

This weekend I'm headed out into the Scottish highlands for a camping trip!

I ordered a GoPro so I can eliminate the tedious and inefficient process of filming my plein air sketching with my phone. Hopefully it arrives in time so I can test it out this weekend. I'm definitely planning on bringing my sketchbook and paint!