I took advantage of a beautiful day and spent a couple happy hours painting at the cranberry bog in Carlisle, MA. When painting on location, a viewfinder is critical in helping me figure out how to transfer the vista in front of me onto a small canvas. The viewfinder not only helps me "crop" the scene into a managable piece but also helps me figure out the correct proportions. For example, the sky and background trees take up just about the top half of the canvas. Using the viewfinder and noting these proportions, I sketch the basic outline of my composition onto the canvas. This is actually one of the more difficult (but critical pieces) of starting a painting. I'll step back, look at my sketch, and make modifications until I'm happy. Once the sketch is complete, I can start the process of filling in each area, usuallly working from the background (top) to the foreground (bottom).