My artwork has always turned out stronger when I know more about the place or animal I am painting/drawing. My sketchbook is used for “roughing out” ideas of compositions and paintings/drawings that come to mind when I am outdoors that will be used to create studio pieces once I return to my studio. When I spend numerous hours outdoors I can really gain a sense of time and place about where I am. When I know as much as I can about what I plan on painting in terms of scientific information about the ecology and biology of the landscape and the animal, I can capture the essence of the place and turn it into a work of art more accurately.
When it comes to plein air paintings and drawings, the attention to detail is shifted and more focus is geared towards capturing the forms and mood of the landscape at a particular time. I feel that artwork created in the plein air style captures a different sense of the landscape which can’t be replicated in studio. Plein air pieces in my opinion provides a more organic feel in a way that they are created directly on site while I am painting or drawing within the elements of nature. In the past these elements included painting in strong winds, sudden snowstorms, cold weather, and rain. Plein air paintings give a different sense of time and place which I also feel can’t be replicated in the studio. Sites for creating plein air work may include sites which are an hour or more hike from where I may park my vehicle. When hiking out to a site, it is usually not an easy hike since I am carrying a backpack filled with supplies, a French easel, camera supplies, and a canvas which at times can be up to 3 by 4 feet large.
I am hoping that everyone who views my work will feel as if they are right there in the scene with the subject, to feel as if they are a part of the natural world they are looking at. Then walk away from the image feeling more connected with nature realizing that we are a part of it as well, and should treat it with respect. Through my artwork I am also hoping that I can get the viewers attention to realize all of the spectacular wildlife that can exist right in their backyard and encourage them to go out and explore it, as one doesn’t have to ponder very far to see something incredible and unpredictable in the natural world.