Earlier this year, I shared about a road trip I took over the winter that involved lots of driving, friend and family visits, and some art! I set some intentions for painting on the road and made two different plans: one for the southbound portion and one for the northbound leg home.
Lisa Spangler inspired my southbound mini project when she wrote, “Nature spots are spots of color to mark your observations while out in nature... [they’re] a great way to document a subject without taking up too much time.” So, on the way down, I filled my ZigZag Book with little oval color swatches from the forests, skies, mountains, and waterways as seen from the passenger seat. Making nature spots is an exercise that encourages gazing out, observing, and then making a quick mix—a perfect fast activity for those who experience car sickness like me.
The spots were so quick that I experimented with adding 1-minute thumbnail sketches to my sketchbook with my Brush Pen, snapping a reference photo, and revisiting the ink outlines later when the car was parked.
Our first night was spent with some family friends in northern Oregon. After dinner, their 3-year-old and I spread art supplies across the dining room table. He played with an extra Explore Palette I brought while I colored in my Washington thumbnails and sketched an outline of the State of Oregon in anticipation of the next day’s drive.
As we descended into Oregon, the weather worsened and my color spots dulled out to match. We dodged snow in the pass and rode I-5 into California a few days later.
South of San Francisco Bay, we cut over to the coast at last! The windy roads (and beautiful views!) made it near impossible for a carsick-prone passenger to get more than a few color mixes down, but that’s okay! The sun came out for breakfast the following day, and I finished up my California State outline sketch at the campground picnic table.
At last, we made it to the beach and I added some final colors to the thumbnails before calling it done!
Thanks for following along on my trip from Washington to California, and if you’re looking for a quick and fun way to document your travels, I suggest you give this exercise a go! Safe travels!