Travel Sketching

I’ve just returned from a camping trip to the Oregon Coast.  What inspiration!  I just wanted to sit and soak it all in from the roaring waves to the wind-sculpted pines to the wide, sandy beaches.   Drawing is such a great way to save the landscape to your soul.  And yet I confess I find myself stressing about it sometimes.  “How could I possibly draw such beauty?” “Should I look for the quintessential subject, or simply sit down and draw what’s in front of me?”   And even, “I don’t know where to start, maybe I’ll just take photographs.”   The best way to conquer doubt and indecision is to jump in and draw something, anything.

One thing that helped this trip was that I started the day by taking a long walk with my dog to get acquainted with an area.  This served two purposes:   I could scout subjects and potential sitting areas from which to draw those subjects, and I could exercise my faithful four-footed buddy so he would be content to stay in the van while I drew.   It worked well.  Invariably, I found a subject I was really excited about.

The first day I was in Astoria, not quite the coast, but a very good starting point.  First, we traversed the marina walk that follows the shore.  There was a lot to see and draw.  In fact, more to draw than I could possibly fit into one day.   By the time I started drawing at the Maritime Museum the sun was out and the temperature quite comfortable.  Adding to the  pleasant ambiance, a nearby musician played a saxophone sending jaunty melodies adrift on the breeze .

Astoria Light Ship

The colorful Columbia was a challenging subject.  It was stationed near the mouth of the Columbia River for nearly 30 years and served as a lighthouse to other ships navigating the treacherous bar.   Now it’s an exhibit at the Columbia River Maritime Museum, open for visitors to explore and imagine themselves bobbing up and down in the waves.


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