The joy of sitting still

Folks that I meet when I am out working on location are either astounded that I am quite able to draw, paint and work in an outdoor, public location…or amazed that I do it fairly quickly. Or both.
Yes …I am painting. Yes…this is what I do. After years and years of practice.

40 years actually. I started painting and sketching with my backpack – hiking and cycling when I was about 14. It is always my favorite pastime. Add sunshine, music, other languages, children, local people, birds, whales etc (subtract the bears, biting bugs, rain, obnoxious men, barking dogs and noisy machinery…) and I am happy to sit just about anywhere for a few hours to capture a scene.

Part of it is the joy of simply sitting still.
By a wild silent mountain lake. In the center of the traffic roundabout at Buckingham palace. Looking down at glaciers and alpine lakes. Or up at a timeless cathedral in Seville or temple in China. Or simply my local beach with children on the shore…or a corner of my garden.

It is not like walking past…or stopping to take photos.
Life starts to happen around you. Because you are sitting quietly and just observing. Not intruding or expecting anything. People go about their tasks. Dragonflies land on you. Otters swim near you. Birds hop on your feet. Boats change with the tide. The light changes. The sky changes.

Yesterday this fellow landed just as I was about to pack up and move. I was kind of behind a post and he didn’t see me till he settled. I happened to have my camera in hand – but he flew off with a croak as soon as I reached for the sketchbook. He fits quite nicely into the revised composition.


9″ x 12″ acrylic on panel

Check out all the new plein air landscape & Garden paintings in my Plein Air Portfolio

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