Painting on a mountain is always a thrilling experience. The day I went up to paint this the wind was gusting and I had to tape everything down. It was also quite cold and my hands and face began to freeze as I was painting. Braving the elements like this made painting a different experience than being in my cozy warm studio. It also made my painting more alive, the light more tangible. There was a sense of urgency when I was painting the likes of which I never get when in my studio.
This plein-air sketch was done on a steep trail at Whitecliff park. In the distance you can see Vancouver Island.
Last summer I went on a little trip along the Sea-To-Sky Highway to find a place to do some painting. At some point not too far from Squamish I found a service road that led up to a clearing. Here I had a beautiful Southward view of the steep mountainsides leading to the waters edge. As well as a patch of highway you can see the railroad close to the water. I worked against time to paint the shadows in the trees as they were slowly changing towards the end of the sketch, which took about two hours.
Some acomplished artists say that one of the essential elements of success for an artist is painting Plein Air.
When you are out in nature painting, it is all before you in real time with real light, and your eye can pick up a lot of colors that cannot be captured by a camera. The natural energy of the place will seep into your paintings to give an effect you cannot quite capture in the studio.
This particular sketch was done at UBC overlooking Wreck Beach.