I borrowed this phrase from the recently deceased Canadian painter Robert Genn who believed that there is only so much we can learn about how to paint from the many fine instructors and resources available today. The true learning comes from going off on our own and just doing it - Go to your room!

I have had the good fortune to take instruction from outstanding artists in Canada and the USA. I continue to work on my own development ( Going to MY room!) . I share, through this blog and workshops, what I have learned and what others have shared with me.

I created this blog primarily for those attending my workshops to keep in touch and to further share as we grow together. If others are interested in following that would be great.

Enjoy the journey.

Tuesday 5 April 2016

Next best thing to plein air painting

For a variety of reasons I am finding it more difficult to be able to commit the time needed for making plein air paintings . Recently I have tried more sketching on location. Quick sketches take only a short time and still gets one involved with the great outdoors. It involves all that plein air painting does - except the painting. The planning, compositonal choices, simplification, value plan etc are still required. The thinking and decision-making are no different. And best of  all it doesn't require my ever-patient wife to hang about for a few hours.

A few month ago I " invested" in a new start-up Kick-starter campaign - the Nomad Art Satchel .  It arrived last week and I took it on our RV trip to Tofino. The satchel can hold all one needs, but I have other sketching kits that can as well. The two advantages the Nomad has is that it has a plate for attaching to a tripod and a shoulder strap that makes it possible to stand and sketch.

I expect it will get a lot of use. The sketches combined with photos should make good reference for studio works.

Nomad opens with pad side and storage side

Images from Nomal web page


  1. Love the Nomad (sold out apparently) and love your sketches Brian! Great post!

  2. I really enjoy when you share your thoughts about the newest gear that you`ve tried; I had never heard of this sketching kit. You sure like to go out and test out the materials, and it`s great to get your point of view...Thanks Brian!

  3. Thanks Stephanie. Think it is something that I will use. How is the new gallery working for you? Lots of work I bet.

  4. Was delighted to read your approach to plein air - sketching + reference photos vs painting on site. This is exactly the plan I had made and will endeavor to follow through as the warm weather approaches. A less cumbersome set-up will mean more outings and hence more "art" mileage. From the few times I actually did go out plein air painting last summer, I realized that my eyes needed more training in contouring the large masses and assessing proper values. And as you explained, sketching does all this. Thanks for sharing your views and the information on equipment. I'm excited now to go out scene hunting!

  5. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d certainly donate to this brilliant blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to fresh updates and will talk about this blog with my Facebook group. Chat soon!
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