on a winter getaway.

It’s a long weekend in Canada and so with neither work nor school for anyone on Monday we skipped off to the mountains for some nordic-style fun in the alpine climate.

We travel out there quite often. To that point, I had bought a “travel” sketchbook that I’d intended to be for travel sketching but after the fifth time I brought it to the local mountains and drew pictures of wildlife, flora, waterfalls, pine trees, and (of course) mountains, I officially called that book my “mountain sketching” book and am now intent on filling it up with the same.

This past weekend was no exception.


Except it was winter, and I’ve written in the past about my lack of patience for drawing in the snow. So, instead I was back to drawing from my day’s photos from a table in our hotel room.


Splats. Dribbles. Drips. And spatter. There is something to be said for the abstraction that evolves from a carefree mashing of paints onto paper. I took another online course in February where the instructor emphasized this particular style. She didn't teach it, per se, but rather she left it hanging there in between the lines, so to speak. She alluded to it as a technique that she enjoyed, a carefreeness of paint upon the page that was as much deliberate and purposeful as it was accidental. Messy does not mean random. Messy does not imply carelessness. Messy is as much about painting with physics and chaos as it is about painting outside the lines.

One of our weekend activities was a mountain hike.

We walked up through a frozen creek bed, between towering rock cliffs cut into the side of a mountain, bracing against the cold and occasional gusts of wind. We walked nearly four klicks up and then the same back down. I took lots of video and a few photos, and warm and dry and full of supper that night I pulled out my watercolours and tried to evoke the mountains as much as the feeling of the mountain hike, blustery, chaotic, and busy with life and people and shifting weather.

The result was painting outside of the lines, and a bit of chaotic physics.

I have a lot of learning to do about this style, and while I’m not ready to declare a victory here, also I’m not sad about the result for my first attempt.