07/23/2014 04:22 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Sketching at 30,000 Feet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

The other passengers can also be good subjects.

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

A lot of the time things are pretty strongly horizontal.

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.

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

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

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.