Sketching outdoors

by pamneely on October 15, 2010

The countryside may be conducive to poetic ideas, but you cannot be at your best with wet feet. So have a good pair of shoes when you go out.

Outdoor drawing should be a pleasure and a fount of good ideas for pictures. Don’t let it deteriorate into an elaborate way to catch a cold. Don’t be misled by the sun shining in the morning; be prepared for the chill of the afternoon. Familiar as we are with these changes, when we go outdoors to draw or paint, all thoughts of precaution vanish. I have so often observed this in others and, to my discomfort, experienced it myself. That is why I make this warning sound so ominous. Also carry a raincoat and a sweater, especially in the spring. Be prepared for the weather.


SATCHELS

Regardless of the climate you will be working in, it is still vital to keep the amount of equipment small, compact and easily transportable. For this a good satchel is required. I have tried various satchels from ex-army bags to fishing bags. All have their good points, but the strongest and most hardwearing, as well as the one which is best designed for an artist’s needs, can be obtained from any of the leading artists’ suppliers.

Measuring, usually, 16 1/2 inch x 11 1/2 inch, with two deep pockets that are so designed that they will not let anything fall out; with straps fixed to the back for easel or stool; fairly light in weight, they can hold quite a lot of equipment for their size and can easily be carried over your shoulder (Fig. 16).

Anything larger than this will be cumbersome; anything smaller will tend to limit you. There is no real economy in buying a smaller or inferior type of satchel. A cheap satchel will let you down at the most unlikely moments and be a source of frustration and despair. Nothing is more infuriating than to have your paints and crayons strewn over the pavement because your satchel has burst. What is worse, you ruin your materials and often lose half of them. Like most of the equipment which artists use, the best is always the most practical. And practicality is the keynote for working outdoors.

SKETCH BOOKS

Your sketch book is one of the most important pieces of equipment you will be taking out with you. Consequently it must be chosen with care. What you do in it, how you do it, will depend largely on the type of paper you use: its size, its surface, will either make or mar your efforts. Therefore your book should be neither too large nor too small.

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