With the advent of these lovely first days of early spring – it’s time to get outside and sketch! I did so twice recently and you’ll see some of both; the main one that I have the most footage from is going to PowellsWood Gardens again (yes the same one in the class!) this past week to celebrate the spring equinox. The other is older from a few weeks back, a little jaunt to Snoqualmie Falls in a sketch session that ended up a soaking wet disaster!

Tutorial: Sketching Outside (PowellsWood Gardens, Snoqualmie Falls)

Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!


As an opaque watercolor, gouache can be easily layered as you saw in the video. Darker colors first, lighter on top. You can also go back in with more darks or midtones, but dark to light most often works out best. Bigger brushes at the start, then smaller ones as you reach details. And I love a good Pentallic sketchbook – excellent surface for gouache, in any size.

Sketching outside with gouache, for me, is most easily done with my sketchbook attached to an L shaped Sketch Easel – got mine on Etsy from True’s Hard Goods. It’s got a little connector on the bottom that hooks up to any standard tripod. I like to sit on a folding stool (mine is a hunting one, one day I need to replace the fabric in the seat to something more creative than camo!) with the book on the top of the easel, paints and water resting on the flat part.

Subscribe to my weekly newsletter, Creativity In Your Inbox

* indicates required

DIY sketchbook

You can make your own sketchbook out of your favorite paper! Drawing, painting, whatever you create on, have at it. In the video below, seen in the free pre-class lesson of the Travel Sketches 2 class, you can see how I made the one that got dunked in the river! (The rest is about supplies for class.)

Thank you

To all who  have sent me such lovely messages this week, my heartfelt thanks goes out to you! Sometimes when you fall into a spiral, the best thing to do is just….well….talk it out. At least for me. It may not be the most pleasant – and it has its downsides, as I found out in posting publicly about it. 

But even with that, I received messages from several artists who were glad that SOMEONE finally said out loud what we all go through. When you’re an independent artist, life’s hard. So I now have a new tribe of people to message with privately when things get overwhelming, and that’s a lovely benefit from what this week has wrought.

So thank you for being kind and loving, I appreciate you more than you know!


Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art

Subscribe to receive blog posts by email:

1 Comment

  1. Bonnie Tait

    Sandy, I do understand what you go thru, it’s dark, and dreary and when it happens, zI have no desire to create a thing, it can last for months. Finances are a big one for me since I’m disabled and living solely on that income. May our lord watch over you and bring back your joyful spirit. Your truly a gifted artist.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.