I’d headed out to recharge the batteries of my visual memory for my next cliff edge painting, a composition idea that’s been bouncing around my head but needed clarifying before I started. Sitting at the seashore listening to waves lapping and pebbles rolling, staring up at cliffs, in bright sunshine lulled me into looking and listening more than sketching (see short video of the scene).
It’s all to easy to worry about not getting good sketches done, and several of them, especially if it’s somewhere you might never return to, but these memories of a location are as important as sketches and reference photos. Back in the studio they pull you back into the joys of the location, and it’s this enjoyment of a landscape that adds the intangible extra to a painting that resonates with a viewer.
Sitting staring out to see isn’t “doing nothing”, though it may seem that way to onlookers. It’s part of the job.