Yes! You can travel sketch

We are getting another Yes! You can Travelsketch! workshop planned. With the weather improving we will get outside to sketch. This workshop is for those who have never sketched or even think “I can’t.” For those with some experience you will get some new ideas.

Everyone who attends gets a complete Travelsketching kit.

Register soon, we have a limit of 8, and already have four signed up. Register on the Workshop page above.

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Nature Sketching at Nature Together

Nature Together hosted a workshop for Nature sketching. It was so amazing the art that came from a group with no sketching experience, the photos are the proof. We will do this again I am sure.

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Remembering Notre Dame

Along with many millions of people around the world I am mourning the damage done to the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, grateful for the many times I have been there, sorry that so many will never get to see her as she was.

We have been to Paris many times, each time we checked in at Notre Dame, it would be an incomplete visit to miss her. It took five trips to finally go up the Eiffel Tower, a disapointing experience due to the intense crowds, no desire to go back. Notre Dame is different.

The first time we visited Paris and Notre Dame we climbed the stairs to the bell towers, over 600 steps up a narrow spiral staircase. Visions of the Hunchback of Notre Dame – Hugo or Disney – crept into our minds and conversation.

In 2005 Pope John Paul II died while we were in Paris, I went into the Cathedral. It was quiet and quite empty, most who visit, tourists and Parisians alike, go for the architecture and the history rather than meditation and prayer. The only voice I heard was the priest, standing near the alter, offering a prayer. I remember that day well.

One reason I am such an advocate of travelsketching is that it is a tool to connect with a moment and place – at the time you are traveling or later as you re-connect and remember. So last night I did a couple of sketches from photos taken years ago. One, that day in 2005 when I stepped inside, another from across the Seine River. Each stirred up a bit of the feeling of the moment all those years ago.

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Nice work at Yes! You can travelsketch!

Saturday six travelsketchers joined me for a workshop at the Red Cup in Mukilteo. The wind and the temperature made it unrealistic to be outside so Kris at Nature Together generously opened their space for us to use.

This one sold out quickly, so I have another on the calendar for May 18, check the Workshop page above for details and to register, we are limited to 8 and registrations are already coming in.

Here are some photos from yesterday

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What I learned about sketching from birds

Most of us have something that intimidates us when we think of doing a sketch. Some fear buildings because of perspective issues, others its people and faces, for me it is (was) birds. Past attempts were usually disappointing.

Thanks to Lyanda Lynn Haupt the author of Crow Planet, and Nature Together in Mukilteo, WA, I was challenged to paint birds. Crow Planet stimulated my awareness of the nature around me, which includes birds. Nature Together is sponsoring my Nature Sketching workshop on April 17; I have sketched a lot of leaves, flowers, and rocks in preparation, but, what if someone asked about birds, oh no! 

I have sketched a lot of leaves, flowers, and rocks in preparation. But, what if someone asked about birds, oh no! 

So I had a little talk with myself, I do that often, trying not to let people see me. “Terry, you tell people to stop thinking about lines and paint the shapes, so do it with birds.” Wise advice from a wise person I am sure. So I gave it a go. 

“Don’t define, don’t think of lines just look at the shapes and paint them with globs of paint.” This is how I teach people to paint anything because it works – and I discovered it works with birds. The temptation is always to want to outline the shapes with the brush, but it is better to work from the center and push the paint outward into the shape. Then use a bit of Micron ink for some details.

These two robins were my first attempts with the technique, and I must say I am quite pleased. When you follow the technique it works, wether it is buildings, flowers, shells, or even birds. Now I am finding birds are a favorite. And I am confident that I can pass this on to others.

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Travel and Nature Sketching

For many years I had the privilege of traveling to Australia a couple of times a year, yet it was not until my last trip, the twentieth time, that I finally saw the icon of Australia, a kangaroo. And even then it was from a train window as Tricia (Travels Through My Lens) and I were on our way from Melbourne to Sydney – a fleeting glance as they bounded over a hill.

‘Roos and Koalas may be iconic, but the diversity of nature, unfamiliar to my other-side-of-the-hemisphere experience, are abundant. Flocks of colorful birds, spiders that I sadly never sketched, and the most amazing plants you can imagine.

To get a real feel for a place go where the locals go, and slow down enough to sketch a plant, a spider, a tree, a rock in the water, a mountain. Nature sketching is a part of travelsketching.

This colorful flower was in the city park in Darwin, Australia.

Here are two from Japan. The trees in Japan have the most interesting shapes, I sketched this one from a bench while soaking up the quiet ambience of the park.

The plants and planter are from a quiet little hideaway at the Niwa Hotel, they called it a refreshment place, a pond and plants, on the third floor yet – a quiet place to refresh.

Learn more about combining nature sketching with your travels, be they near or far, at this upcoming workshop.

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Nature Sketching vs. Botanical Illustrations,o

Elisa is a friend of mine, the daughter-in-law of my friend Tim. She is one of those artists whose work leaves me speechless. Elisa does botanical illustrations, a specific form of art not for the weak of heart.

Botanical Illustrations must be scientifically accurate in all ways, color, proportions, and details. They are often artistic, yet they are not open for interpretations by the artist. Here is an example, though not done by Elisa.

Nature Sketching is different. Much like travel or urban sketching, nature sketching captures the moment while it enhances observation and awareness. Explorers of nature have always gone into the world with a sketchbook or field journal in their pocket, to record what they see, and what they experience. Theirs is the work of the moment – the botanical illustration is more likely the product of the studio.

Many of my earliest memories took place in nature, up through my first year of college my intention was to become a biologist. Life has a way of redirecting the confident certainty of youth, yet my curiosity and love of nature is alive and well all these years later. I am looking forward to leading workshops that will attract non-sketchers to the joy of seeing the world around them, and capturing in in a sketchbook.

Here are a few recent nature sketches:

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