How Sketching at the Cottage Brought Exciting New Ideas
Drawing at the cottage
Two weeks ago, my husband’s family came for a visit. I don’t see them often so it was a real treat. They also haven’t spent very much time in Nova Scotia, so we made the most of it by going cottaging in Cape Breton.
I was excited to record experiences and moments in a new environment, so I packed a light sketch kit. But because we had limited time to visit family, being fully present with the people I care about also mattered.
Sketching as a form of note-taking
In the end, I structured my day by drawing mostly in the morning and reading in the afternoon. Working in the mornings had its advantages – the way the light falls early is more interesting than at noon, making for more interesting shadows. It was quiet, and I felt free to take my time drawing while still being fully present in the afternoons. Each morning was different too, since there were sunny mornings, foggy mornings, and drizzly mornings, all conditions that made for interesting light and ripples. One morning the lake was so still it resembled a mirror.
I also put together some fast compositions while on a daytrip. Driving around Cape Breton is beautiful. I didn’t capture any photos on the drive as I wanted my impressions to remain clear – allowing for key colours and details to be stand out. It was more notetaking than drawing. I say ‘notetaking’ because working quickly was important – jotting down composition ideas proved more valuable than a ‘nice’ sketch.
We went canoeing and kayaking one day when the lake was calm. It was my second time kayaking – and fun as it was, I’m no expert! While I packed small squares of paper and a pencil, there was really no way I could manage both a paddle and draw – or at least, the fear of losing my paddle was a powerful one! Still, there were moments that I wanted to capture. It’s so different viewing the land (and water) while in a boat. So, I focused on one key moment, taking ‘photos’ in my mind to note down later. Here’s the end result:
Here’s a study of a tree – some mornings it was too cold to go outside
Moving forward I’m excited to do some colour studies, play around with the compositions more and stretch canvas to get these ideas down in paint.
In the meantime, come sit on the beach with me for a while and enjoy these waves!