We are in week 2 of my online class Field Sketching for Landscape Painters. The idea for this class came from two of my students who expressed concerns about their drawing skills and the challenges of working outdoors. One of the things I have noticed over the many years I have painted plein air and taught plein air painting is that most students are not really ready to take on the rigors of outdoor work. Most do not have the drawing skills, but those who do, fair much better. That combined with my interest in 19th century landscape painters and their working methods, led me to design a course which would give students some basic skills in drawing the landscape as an important prerequisite to painting it.
Our text for the class is John Ruskin's The Elements of Drawing which was so influential for American landscape painters in the 19th century. Combining Ruskin's drawing exercises with other assignments, students are building drawing skills for creating form, understanding value, and learning to slow down to appreciate and understand Nature as artist/naturalists. Here is some of their work.