Keep it simple. Keep it quick. Keep doing it.

IMG_68001. Do you have a sketchbook and pen in your bag or pocket?  Do you have one in the car, on the boat?  Add several gel pens that have a nice slide to them as you draw. Add a felt tipped pen with which you can get fast darks.

2. Make up a little bag that has a water bottle (8-12 oz), some little yoghurt containers, a small palette of watercolors, or watercolor crayons ( ), a pointed watercolor brush (#10), a sketchbook small enough to fit in (8″ x 11″ ?) of durable paper. some tissue.  You are good to go.  Keep it where you ARE.

3. What you are doing is OBSERVING. See something. Try to draw it. 2 minutes. Ten. Whatever time you have.

4. It doesn’t have to be FINISHED. Get down how that person is standing as they wait in line for their latte. They move? Draw the next one.

5. Look at that lovely flower. draw it. How does the front petal overlap the center? How does the next petal tuck in behind it? A little more time after you have drawn it, make some color notes. Or tint it.

IMG_03566. At the beach or playground with children or grandchildren? Try to draw them. Pay attention to how their head sits into their shoulders from where you are sitting. Where their ear is on their head and their eyes in relation to the ead and the shoulders.

7. When they move, stop and try another.

8. When they move stop and try another.

IMG_03579. When you are doing the 20th or 30th you will begin to KNOW how they go together.

10. Don’t cross anything out.

11. Remind yourself how basketball players shoot again and again at a basket.  How many of their shots don’t go in.  9 out of 17 is considered a good night in a pro game. A professional game!! That means almost half were no good.  You make the majors if you can get on base 1 try out of three.

12. Draw, paint studies of the things you love — the way the rhododendrons look in the back yard, the peonies in your garden, the fruit in a bowl on your kitchen table.

IMG_136913. Choose a budding flower and draw it every day until it falls off the stem.

14. Later try putting some of those drawings together in a painting.

15. Going on a trip? Dedicate a sketchbook to the trip and do a running drawing of what is happening.  Write on the drawing little observations — smells, sounds happening as you draw. If no time to add color, add color notes. Take a photo too.

16. Sit where the best drawing is when the group gathers at a table. As you wait for your order, draw.

17. A whole town or piazza?  Draw the profile outlined against the sky.  Bring down the vertical lines that indicate building walls. A few windows, some awnings.  Some people boxes and you have it.

greece15(2)18. People boxes — a head circle; a trunk to knees tapered box, a V-shaped legs. Overlap them. Give them hats.




figures(2)You will have a wonderful record of your summer, even if you never do anything with it.

  • You will learn more about what things look like
  • You will also have a wealth of observation with which to enrich your “real paintings.”
  • You will have gained confidence as you keep “practicing” — doing again and again and again
  • I will wager that you will be delighted with your increased ability to “see”
  • You will be eager to make your more “serious” paintings using information that you feel you own, you have internalized, instead of having it out there — in a photograph you took.

Do it today!




And tomorrow….



© 2014, Caroline Buchanan
Or come take the watercolor sketching and we will do it together!!