I've painted outdoors approximately two times in my life a long, long time ago - once for a class I was taking at UNLV and once with a group of artists at an old ranch in North Las Vegas. Today I decided to try again. The weather was perfect - cool and sunny. We have a gorgeous cactus that bloomed about two months ago and still has flowers. It survived our recent 22 degree temperatures, not to mention the 5 summers that it has lived through. Desert plants are so hardy. This one is right next to our patio.
I moved outside and with the warm sun on my back, I began to paint. Here is what I have learned so far. (We have a three day weekend, so I'm going out again tomorrow and Monday.) When you're out walking or hiking, you don't notice this as much, but the sunlight changes rapidly! I'm out there getting all toasty warm in the sun, relaxing, enjoying looking at my subject, breathing the lovely fresh air, listening to the dogs running around the yard, listening to the birds, sketching and... the shadows have changed and then... the shadows are gone! Okay - tomorrow I will paint more quickly. In fact, I may break out my little moleskine sketchbook and try to do several little watercolor sketches.
Another thing I learned is that your paint dries much faster outdoors.
I have also learned to shade my paper with my head:)
I also learned that I want to buy a couple of new greens. (You're not reading this, are you, Jim?)