Half a mile from the parking lot at the fairgrounds, there is a bench on the Midge Cramer trail, the perfect spot for sketching. By the time you’ve reached it, you can’t help but feel your batteries re-charging. It smells good (wild roses and sweet meadow grass), it sounds good (crickets and birdsong), it’s gorgeous and green. People jog and pedal along smiling, dogs can barely walk for wagging, the occasional horses even seem glad to see you. There are lots of wildflowers this time of year, and unfortunately also lots of poison oak so stay on the trail. The lupine I sketched above are undoubtedly transplants from someone’s garden via a blue jay or squirrel, they’ve sprouted up just behind the bench.
I sketched these in my Grey toned Strathmore book, which just happened to be the right size to fit in a small pack, and discovered that a toned paper is really great when you’re sitting out in the direct sunlight. Instead of being blinded by the reflection on bright white paper, you can actually see what you’re doing. And as a bonus, just a white charcoal pencil makes for easy highlights. I wondered if the watercolor and colored pencil would still be as bright after photographing, and I think they look good!