I was able to do a few quick sketches on a recent trip to the Eastern Sierras. It was actually a rock climbing trip, but I had to go out and paint one morning. These are pretty small (about 8″x 10″) and my goal was to finish in less than twenty minutes per sketch. It’s a great exercise and I highly recommend it as it forces you to minimize details and focus on the mood of the place at the time. The goal is always to capture what a place “feels” like at a certain time…. I used a bit of Chinese white for the water sprinklers in the background of the first one. I usually try to stay transparent but these are so small I wasn’t able to save the white for them.
I usually start with a pencil sketch to determine where the shapes will be, followed by the background washes. Once those are in, I try to place a few darks–like a tree in this case–to help guide me with the values. It helps to always ask yourself: how light or how dark is it, compared to the other parts?
I love the Sierras. There is definitely some magic light there and the best time to go to Bishop is actually the winter. It is very hot in the summer but winter is just beautifully sunny with balmy temperatures. If you ever visit, don’t forget to stop by Schat’s Bakkery [sic] on the main street and buy some tasty bread and pastries!