Thursday, March 20, 2014

Natalie’s En Plein Air Studio

3/20/14 Cloud study. Watercolor, Canson XL 140 lb. paper
Natalie had asked me to show her how I make collage covers for my sketchbooks, so after a couple of hours of tearing and gluing paper (which is all collage is, as far as I’m concerned), she invited me out on her sundeck for lunch. Although the cars were frosted this morning, by lunchtime the sun was out – not exactly warm, but mercifully sunny. The delicious lentil salad and chocolate chip cookies she fed me were made even more delightful with fresh air and a breathtaking view of Lake Washington near Matthews Beach.

Lake Washington behind Natalie and Tina.
The clouds, in particular, were an amazing, ever-changing display. We both realized we had a great opportunity to practice painting clouds en plein air – with comfortable chairs and a table, to boot. As we pushed lunch aside and got out our sketch supplies, I said, “Natalie, you didn’t tell me you had an outdoor studio with a view of Lake Washington!”

At various points during our sketching, it sprinkled off and on, but the clear glass awning overhead kept us dry. Now that’s what I call en plein air painting at its best.

Natalie's en plein air studio.
Not a bad way to celebrate the first day of spring!

3/20/14 Watercolor, Private Reserve Velvet Black ink, Canson XL 140 lb. paper


  1. How great that you had a protected outdoor studio to work. Sometimes it is just fun to concentrate on clouds...we neglect them too much when we concentrate on other things in the landscape. These are nice and I like the collaged covers.

  2. The clouds were truly fabulous yesterday. I've been reading your blog because I love sketches, and love that you share a sketch almost everyday (and, often from my neck of the woods, since I am also in NE Seattle).

    I took time lapse photos of the clouds yesterday, from our View Ridge house with a view of Lake Washington. The clouds were amazing all day and I recognized the sketches right away. It must have been fascinating trying capture them while they were changing so dramatically.

    1. Hi neighbor! Perhaps you recognize some of the trees mutilated by power lines in my recent sketches -- many are in your neck of the woods. I like sunshine and clear blue skies as much as the next person, but it's clouds that make the sky interesting. . . I never tire of watching them. Your time-lapse photos must be really cool!


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