Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Car sketching

Car sketching

From time to time I draw and paint in the car on trips – always on the passenger side! Last Sunday we drove on Alligator Alley (Interstate highway 75) and passed the remnants of the recent fires. Officials had just reopened the highway again after numerous closures.

The fire burned right up to the fence in several places (scene above), and past, up to the road itself. There was still a bit of smoldering and some smoke plumes within the deeper vegetation were visible. Green patches of grass showed through the soot from time to time, evidence of the hops and leaps of the windblown flames. In some areas, both sides of the road and the median were scorched!

Just down the road was lush, bright green vegetation spilling over everywhere. It’s hard to believe that swamps and flourishing hammocks burn so readily, but it’s a fact of life in southern Florida.
These were done on Arches hot-press watercolor paper, sketched with a Pitt ink pen then painted from my travel kit. See my Flickr link for the set-up:

I bought the paint set on sale before I realized that I could make my own and simplify the palette, but that’s another project for another day! There are several examples of homemade travel sets and sketchbooks on Flickr that other artists have made and use every day; they are a great inspiration!
~ Elizabeth Smith
Naples, Florida, USA


  1. Sad to see and hear about but wonderful what comes out of it,,,,,,,,Life from death. But yet I believe life and death are the same...one is equivalent to the volume turned all the way up and as time passes the volume goes down, finally to no sound. I see this feeling in all of you by looking at your art....you are connected with your subject and marinated in this thing we all call life. Thank you Liz for your art and all my art friends.

  2. How you manage to capture a slice of landscape in a car going 60+miles per hour escapes me! But I'm glad you did...both landscapes are lovely, each in its own way!

  3. I really like how your pen dances through the page! Glad to see that even from a sad events come out wonderful drawings!

  4. Ricky - what an interesting metaphor for life and death. Well said, indeed.

    Thanks everyone! I find that drawing in the car really loosens up my pen; sometimes an accidental bump turns in to a happy accident!


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