Sketching In the Car in Winter

Farmer's field sketched from my car, watercolor

Farmer’s field sketched from my car, watercolor

The Northeast has been buried under lots of snow this winter.  I’ve enjoyed painting it in the studio using some references I’ve taken as departure points, and also have rediscovered an interest in pen & ink sketching from my window. I have missed painting on location though, so I went out this morning in search of a good place to paint from the car.

The hardest thing about painting in the car is finding a good place to do it. Some of the best vantage points are on busy roads, and where I live, these can be very hilly, winding and narrow–with no good place to pull over and park. I find using watercolor or pen & ink to be the easiest and cleanest way to sketch in the car. I’ve worked with pastel, but it really is too dusty for a confined space. Using hard pastels however, does help a lot.

I keep a small back pack readily available and usually in the car with the following supplies:

– Winsor Newton portable watercolor set

– Small bottle of water and a little container

– Moleskine watercolor sketchbooks

– A few paper napkins

– Mechanical pencil for making notes about location

– Sharpie marker for any ink I may want to add

This small bag ensures that no matter where I am, I have what I need to sketch at a moment’s notice. I often find I have time before classes or when running to and from appointments and having the materials with me enables me to sketch wherever I happen to be. If you are pressed for time, try assembling a little kit like the one I describe. It doesn’t have to be a watercolor kit–you can substitute pencil, colored pencil, charcoal or pen & ink. It’s a great way to get in more practice time and build your skills for when the weather warms up!





One Response to Sketching In the Car in Winter

  1. Pat Olds says:

    I used to paint from my car when I first started painting plein air and it was winter weather. I treasure the at that evolved then. You have inspired me with all your works. I need to so more sketching again. Pat Olds

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