In 2018 my journey of plein air drawing began. At that time, I didn't even know what plein air was. In that moment, it was just a way to pass the time. It was a way to calm my nerves before my tennis match in Jekyll Island at an annual high school tennis tournament. I wanted to challenge myself to sketch as fast as possible the tennis court in front of me. I used only a pen, because I knew if I used a pencil I would erase a billion times and never get anything on paper. That is just what perfectionists, like myself, do. To my surprise, under the pressure of time I was able to render what was in front of me before I had to start warming up for my match. Of course, it was not a perfect drawing, but I forever have that moment captured in time in my journal.

I dedicated the journal from then on to only drawings done at the site of a location. No photo references, no pencil marks, no erasing. I have taken the journal several places. It has been to Mexico beach several times. Those drawings of Mexico beach will forever be so special to me.  I drew a beach house and the main pier that were destroyed from the hurricane shortly after. It is crazy to me to think that I, through my artwork, documented a time in my life and so many memories along with it. The journal has also traveled with me all the way to Boston Massachusetts when I went on a mission trip. I drew the church we stayed at, inside and out, and the cityscape from sitting in the garden beside the church. I even drew from inside the Fenway Park. I may have missed half of watching the game, but it was totally worth it.   

As I continued, I gained my own style for how I decided to capture objects quickly. Little did I know that these fun little sketches would improve my paintings drastically. I messed around with oils once or twice before I took the plein air class at Valdosta State University. This quickly became my FAVORITE class ever. We would meet twice a week at 8am and paint the location for 3 uninterrupted hours. It. was. amazing. (Sorry I am an art nerd and enjoy things like this) For me that class was a blessing in disguise. I was almost burnt out already from my small art commission business on top of my art school work. I was creating 24/7. However, I wasn't taking the time to truly remember why I do art and actually enjoy it. Painting in plein air stopped time for me. I was able to put the chaos of life on hold for those 6 hours a week and enjoy my surroundings, quickly capturing the beauty of the earth around me. Placing my phone on silent so that I have no interruptions I take in the moments of life that can fade so quickly and pay attention to the small things that easily go unnoticed. I like to call it a race with time when I am plein air painting. Everything is constantly changing around you. However, that is what makes it so much fun. The way light hits an object changes an entire picture and view. Sometimes you get caught in the rain. Sometimes you are in the freezing cold wearing 3 layers of pants and jackets. Sometimes it gets dark on you and it is simply time to go home. You never know what is going to happen and in that class I learned to love every second of it. It's been a year since I've taken that class and I am so thankful to know that when I am stressed or when life gets too hectic. A plein air painting is something I can do anywhere and at any time. Even If it is to help me realize how beautiful life is around me and how I need to enjoy it more.