I have to say this at the start: For me, nothing comes close to drawing and painting on location. The immediacy and the multisensory experience are best translated onto paper if I can be right there.
That said, I’ve really come to enjoy “virtual travel sketching” this year. It’s been a way to meet online and share an experience with sketching buddies I cannot meet. It’s also been a way to see and experience places through someone who knows and loves a place. And that last bit is key to bringing the experience alive for me.
This piece was created based on a series of photos that Virginia Hein shared in an online Zoom session. In the session, she also shared her personal stories and experiences of this magical place, Joshua Tree National Park. I’ve visited Joshua Tree before, which certainly helps. But Virginia’s really deep connection to it, along with her narrative of its geography, geology, and vegetation brought the place alive for me. It felt a little bit like being there.
Sketching these vignettes with Joanna was just as exciting. The images she shared were a feast of places, food and experiences that are foreign to me (I’ve never visited Taiwan) and Joanna really brought them alive with her descriptions while we sketched. So much so, that I now have a recipe for Taiwanese Beef Noodle soup in my list of “things to make this winter”.
With the winters being so mild where I live, and life slowly but steadily returning to normal, I’m sketching a lot on location, but I think I’ll still be keeping some virtual travel sketching in the mix: it’s a chance to hang out and sketch with friends old and new across the world and to see the world through their eyes.