Some examples of plein air (outdoor) sketching, in various locations. Not going for high scientific accuracy here, just looking for relationships, structures, and stories in nature and the city. Each plein air situation offers unique opportunities and challenges. Like everyone who draws, I find drawing really connects you with the subject, and the feelings and thoughts of the moment. It extends the moment, stretches it out, and allows you time to think, and for meaning to enter and stay.
A warm summer afternoon, a few sketching pals, and an old abandoned barn on a farm that has been donated to the province as a public park.
There is a magical place in Wellington County, where I love to go when spring comes to the cow pastures and presents lovely sketching opportunities.
Antique wood stove, standing on the deck of a farmhouse, waiting to be refinished. This ‘Campfire’ brand stove was made in Lunenberg, Nova Scotia.
May 2013 — Four young robins absolutely stuffed into their little nest, up in the porch rafters of a stone farmhouse. It’s hard to believe they’d want to pack themselves in like this, but I swear this is just how they looked! Understandably, they fledged (left the nest) the following day.
Another relationship found in nature — a tree stump helping to anchor the stream bank.
A second mighty tree stump, helping to hold up the stream bank.
Walking in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton ON, I came across this tree, with very strange-looking roots, shaped like big pots, tunnels, and barrels. The bank was eroded away on this side; on the other side the tree looked perfectly normal. I didn’t collect leaves to make an identification, so I don’t know what type of tree it is, and don’t yet know why the roots look so strange like this. Learning must continue! :-) Hopefully I’ll find the answer at some point.
Another Spring … another May … out in the cow pasture in the warm sun, with the spring runoff filling the streams.
Two sketches in the Cheltenham Badlands, north of the Toronto area. Pencil and watercolour.
A sketch without colour focuses on the folding, intersecting forms of the badland hills.
A simple ink sketch of a summer’s view of the cow pasture. Often another unrelated sketch will come along to fill an open space; in this case a study of a Nigella flower.
Even sitting around in someone’s back yard is a good excuse for sketching.
Still sitting around sketching in someone’s back yard … the Sherlock Holmes fan in me calls this house the ‘Wisteria Lodge’ of Mississauga Ontario.
I often look for relationships when sketching in the city. This tree and its shadow have a simple relationship with the fence.
Two sketches of nature intersecting with the built environment, in the Toronto area.
Another great example of nature intersecting with city life. I love how the tree roots have disrupted the regular order of the paving stones and made the pattern more organic.