Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sunshine Getaway, Days 3-4

Wrapping up our trip to Pensacola ...

Here's the sketch I mentioned yesterday, drawn when we had lunch at a restaurant overlooking the harbor.

Watercolor, pen & ink, 6" x 9"

It was the most delicious meal I had on the trip. Simply delectable!

Detail

The next morning we went exploring and drove east on Santa Rosa Island, the narrow barrier island that we were staying on, and discovered miles and miles of deserted dunes and beaches that are part of Gulf Islands National Seashore. We took a walk along a sparkling white sand beach in the brilliant sunshine, just ambling along, picking up shells and watching the waves, without a care in the world. That's my idea of a perfect day.

Watercolor, pen & ink, 6" x 9"

This sketch of a battered fence is my favorite. I completed it on site, and I think that gave it a more spontaneous quality than some of the others. I punched up the color of the plain grey fence by adding touches of warm yellows and pinks.

Detail

After touring around the area all morning, we decided to just relax by the pool in the afternoon. The pool water was pretty cold, but Fred did one loop around the "lazy river" (trying not to touch the water!) I much preferred the jacuzzi. It felt great!


Watercolor, pen & ink, 6" x 9"

The pool area was so pretty, with its cute tiki hut, palm trees, waterfalls, and spouting jets of water. I couldn't wait to sketch it all.

Detail

I painted while Fred napped in the sun...

Detail

We celebrated our anniversary that evening with a wonderful dinner in town, then headed home the next day. I dashed off this last sketch at the airport just before we boarded our flight to Charlotte, then painted it while we were en route.

Watercolor, pen & ink, 6" x 9"

Some of you probably wonder why I would bother to do all this "work" while I'm on vacation. Well, for me, drawing and painting is a way to relax. When I'm deeply involved in sketching, it's almost like meditating. I get so focused on what I'm doing that, if someone speaks to me, I may not even hear them. I'm "in the zone", and there's no room in my head for worry, stress, guilt, or obligations. With my Type A personality, it's quite a feat for me to be able to relax like that just by opening up a sketchbook and picking up a paintbrush.

The other reason I put all this effort into my travel sketchbooks is because I love the results. Instead of returning from vacation with photos like this ...


... storing them on my computer, and probably never getting around to printing them out, I have a sketchbook that I can hold in my hands, filled with sketches like this ...


It's like bringing a piece of that place home with me.

I hope you'll give it try sometime. Anyone can do it -- really! All it takes is the willingness to try. And when you find out how much fun it is, you won't want to stop!

8 comments:

  1. I enjoy all your sketchbooks, Leslie, but I am enjoying this one in particular because for me it brings back good memories of our trip to Florida, which included a few days camping at Gulf Islands National Seashore near Pensacola (example photo from our trip: http://www.pbase.com/segan/image/130426591). Such a wonderful place, and it must have been peaceful and quiet this time of year for you.

    I like your point about taking the time to sketch and having a sketchbook as a more meaningful momento of your trips (versus photos). I do try and take good photos while on a trip, but good photos--especially nature photos--are so dependent on the lighting, and while traveling it's rare that the lighting is just right when you need it to be. It looks like with sketching you don't have that kind of limitation. I have just gotten into keeping a regular watercolor sketchbook and I now look forward to incorporating sketching into my travels. Your work has inspired me in this way.

    I love your sketch of the old fence a lot! It has so much life and character!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I appreciate your thoughtful comments so much, Stacy. Thanks for taking the time to write.

    I spent a few minutes looking at all of your photos from your Florida trip, and really enjoyed myself. You have some wonderful ones there! I was just reading an article this morning about the Keys, and later noticed that you had visited there, too. That must have been a great trip. I'd like to head down there one of these days. I liked your picture of Fort Pickens - wasn't that a neat place? All those brick arches - amazing!

    Do try sketching next time you travel - you'll love it!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for taking the time to peruse my Florida trip photos! Yes, Fort Pickens was a neat place. I recommend driving down the Keys so you can experience all the bridges and such. Key West is touristy but fun.

    Our next trip is driving next month from Arizona to Washington D.C. and New York City, and I certainly plan to use my little watercolor sketch kit!

    I have a question...I gather that there is often not enough time to finish painting a sketch on location (I expect that will be a problem with me), and this is something you have mentioned, that you draw on-site and paint it later. Do you try and remember the colors and values, do you take a photo and work from that, or do you follow in your mind "rules" of light source direction and paint your highlights and shadows accordingly (and paint in colors that feel right)?

    ReplyDelete
  4. I snap a reference photo and paint from that. I usually don't have a laptop with me on vacation, so I have to just use the view finder on my camera, and zoom in to see details. It's not ideal, but it works for me. I end up using a lot of artistic license as far as colors go, and yes, I do try to stick with a consistent light direction, so my shadows don't look wonky. Above all, I remind myself that it's just a sketch and my aim is to capture a moment and have fun with my art, so I don't stress too much over accuracy.

    I can't wait to see the sketches from your trip next month! I signed up to follow your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you, Leslie, for your thoughtful reply! I will try as you suggest! I totally agree about having fun with sketching and not stressing too much about accuracy. I'd rather the sketch be a reminder of feeling fun and free rather than stress and anxiety over trying to achieve a "perfect" rendering.

    ReplyDelete
  6. These sketches are so much fun! You're right about them having so much more punch than a plain photo. I love the one of the pool area. And the fact that you are such a good artist helps a lot!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for the encouragement, Katiejane. I don't know about being a good artist, but I definitely have fun doing what I do, and I think that shows.

    Stacy, you're absolutely right about wanting the sketch to be a reminder of feeling fun and free. I think that's one reason I really love it when I can finish a sketch onsite. The pleasure of painting is all wrapped up in enjoying a special place and being away from work and home. It just seems to make the sketch that much more special to me.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wonderful to see more pages of your trip to Florida. You have captured quite a bit of variety in these pages. I can relate to your love of wandering along the beach and picking up shells or other treasures, and for loving how journaling provides a type of escape from the normal worries and stresses of life. What a nice record of your getaway you'll have!

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...