THE BLOG

Sketching at 30,000 Feet

07/23/2014 04:22 pm ET | Updated Sep 22, 2014

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When I travel, I always have a sketchbook with me and I like doing small studies like this one in gouache.

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Sketchbooks are a great way to reclaim your time when you are waiting. Here's the plane I was waiting to board.

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Here's the runway in Austin, waiting to leave.

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These are from different flights,this one is LAX to Austin

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Here's my in flight snack, probably a flight on Southwest.

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The main event for me in terms of sketching is the sky outside, this flight was from Frankfurt to LAX.

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Here's my travel setup, I'm painting in gouache from Schmincke, the box is a Windsor-Newton travel box and the travel brushes are from Rosemary & Co. I work at a pretty small scale, it's efficient, and more polite to my neighbors as well.

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LAX to Austin- these tend to take about half an hour or so - the sketches, not the flights of course.

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The other passengers can also be good subjects.

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Here's my friend and fellow artist Sean Cheetham, we were on our way to New York for the Armory Show.

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A lot of the time things are pretty strongly horizontal.

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The clouds go by too quickly to be accurate about them individually, so the moments are a sort of subtle fiction. My aim is to pin down the large color and value relationships that define the light and form I'm watching go by.

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LAX to CDG Paris- A vertical format can help mediate the largely horizontal cloudscapes.

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Looking down into the clouds can also break it up a bit.

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Burbank to JFK. Sketching reminds me of where I was when I was doing it to a much greater extent than photography or writing. When I see a photograph of a place I've been, sometime it takes me a second to recognize and remember, but when I see a sketch it snaps me back to when and where I was when I made it.