I love the winter.
This may come as a surprise as I spent 10 years of my life in Miami - but winter has always been and will always be my favorite season. A changed landscape, the snap of cold air in my lungs, the layers of blankets to keep out the chill... everything about it energizes and invigorates me.
While I can't reliably run as much in the winter, and the long days of painting in the woods take a bit more planning and layering, I do still get outside to sketch and explore.
The forms of winter just seem so much more dramatic; the deep reaching purple shadows on the snow, the sepia gradients of leaves frozen at the bottom of a pond, the barreness of the landscape, it all speaks to me so much louder than other seasons.
If weather doesn't allow for me to sit out and sketch (we've had a few weeks of negative temperatures, makes it a bit hard to hold on to a paint brush and concentrate....) I rely on taking photos and sketching from those when I get back indoors.
I try to remember the colors that struck me, the rhythm of the shadows, whatever it was that drew me to photograph the scene. Not necessarily to 'reproduce' the arrangement - but explore it's dynamic via paint and line. To play with the forms of winter and discover hidden moments, translating them to paper with a brush.
For these sketches I'm mostly concerned with speed - they aren't something I labor over and risk forgetting the initial spasm of motivation. I use watercolor sticks and block out the forms and colors as quickly as I can. Once I've got a few sketches from the photos made, I slow down and approach the final painting.
I'm a little sad to see this winter season winding down, though I can't say I'm upset about not having to shovel the sidewalk. Spring brings it's own inspirations in different forms and I'll be ready to sketch them too.
Wishing you all a lovely week!