Monday, February 7, 2022


1/29 and 1/30/22
Like almost anyone who has ever worked with color, I’m inspired whenever I see a brilliant sunrise or sunset, but I’ve only rarely attempted to sketch one (usually with watercolor). Even a fast-moving painter would be hard-pressed to capture those constantly changing hues en plein air. With colored pencils, it’s almost impossible, even for a fast sketcher like I am.

A while back I learned the term “skyscapito,” which may have been coined by the Skyscapito Appreciation Society. I don’t know much about this nature journaling group, but its members apparently sketch and paint their skies (search skyscapito with a hashtag for inspiring examples)! My introduction to skyscapitos was through Anne Kay’s Instagram feed, where she posts her lively nature journal pages. After enjoying seeing her small skyscapitos for a while, it finally dawned on me: If I make them small enough, I might actually have time to capture the colors of a sunrise or sunset!

I took advantage of the few days we enjoyed “partly sunny” weather last week to make three sunrise and one sunset skyscapitos. Sunrise, especially, is fun to catch because its timing is convenient lately: It has been coinciding with the time when I am usually making my coffee. While I wait for the coffeemaker, I can make a 2-by-3-inch sketch of the southeastern sky, then move on to breakfast.

1/31 and 2/2/22
Not wanting to bring a huge supply of colors to the kitchen, I took a simple, readymade approach: my Caran d’Ache Bicolors set. By removing two pencils that I knew I wouldn’t need for dawns and dusks, I made space in the tin for a Uni Pin brush pen and a waterbrush. The colors in the compact travel set are remarkably suitable for Seattle skies.

My new Field Notes journal would be an ideal place to put these tiny, nature journal-like sketches. Ironically, my current Sweet Tooth Field Notes notebook contains yellow paper, and I don’t like the way the sky looks greenish wherever I apply some blue. So I used a Signature for these (so much for trying to keep everything in one book!). When I eventually use a white-paper Field Notes again, I’m going to put skyscapitos in it.

A compact skyscapito kit!


  1. Working small was a brilliant idea! It is probably just enough time for a skyscapito or two. (I must admit I never heard that term before.)

    1. I think someone made up the term ;-) , but I like it!

  2. OMG!!! I didn't expect it to let me comment. I finally found the proper sequence!
    I am always up for having to get new tools, and I don't have those dual CdA pencils...yet;-)

    1. Glad you can finally comment here, Anne! And thanks again for this idea!!


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