Sketch Big Bear

Sketch Big Bear Mountain Plein Air Group

COVID-19 UPDATE: AirBNB Experiences has been postponed for this season. It's unfortunate, but better safe than sorry. We'll see you in the future!

The cold weather and watercolor painting don't always mix well.

(Cool air 🌬️🥶+ Wet watercolor washes 💦🎨 = ⏳Longer drying times.) 

But we do have one advantage here in the ⛰️, a lot of sunshine 🌞.

If you're planning your trip up and see a warm, sunny week ahead...

(i.e. 50+🌡️ midday, and sunny) and your date is not on our calendar... 

Feel free to reach out if you would like to schedule the best day for you,

We're bringing plein air sketching and watercolor painting to our local community of Big Bear.

We spend so much of our time adventuring around the lake that combining both passions for painting and the outdoors right here in our backyard is not only a logical decision, but an absolute necessity. 

In Big Bear Lake, a year-round resort for close to if not more than 100 years, we know we have what adventurers are looking for.

However, a designated plein air experience & painting group seems to be either a closely guarded secret or just non-existent altogether.

Hence, the creation of Sketch Big Bear in Watercolor!

  • Step 1: Book an art tour right through this AirBNB link or on calendar above.
  • Step 2: Our experience meets at The Copper Q in The Village.
  • Step 3: You will pick your own journal to keep!
  • We provide all the watercolor art supplies you'll need, including our own Wild Plein travel brushes and disc-bound sketchbooks. 
  • You're welcome and encouraged to bring any of your own painting & sketching gear as well.
  • Step 4: Then I will drive you to see a variety of sites to paint, many steeped in history, which I can't wait to share the stories with you.
  • I have a set route, but I'm flexible on time and your desire to see it all, or just a few bits to focus more on painting.

Whether you're a novice, enthusiast, or glorified expert artist trying to shake off the rust, come join the fun and paint the sites of this glorious mountain community with us.

Follow our Instagram @SketchBigBear to see our latest experiences.

(Sample Tour Route)

Sketch Big Bear Tour Route

  • Start: The Copper Q in The Village Big Bear
  • Quick stop at Boulder Bay
  • History stop at Dam Keepers House
  • Hike and Paint at Treasure Island/China Island
  • Drive to Grout Bay for quick sketch (Secret Spots)
  • Quick walk into Juniper Point Meadow 
  • History stop around Fox Farm Rd area.
  • Finish: Back to The Copper Q

Most of our watercolor experience is in the serene Kidd Cove portion of Big Bear Lake. Expansive views offer endless painting perspectives and plenty of sun!

Alternate Experience Routes:

  1. Past experiences that desire more hiking can include a painting experience atop Castle Rock peak (30 min incline hike) with outstanding views of the Big Bear Valley.
  2. A drive up to Bluff Lake offers some unique wildlife on one of the most picturesque and peaceful areas of Southern California. (20 min drive up, mostly flat walking around lake and to the Champion Lodgepole Pine trail.
  3. Cougar Crest trailhead is about (30-40 minutes moderate hike) to the PCT connection with 270 degree views of the lake and Big Bear Valley facing San Gorgonio Mountain.

    After the Experience:

    Our goal is to inspire you to continue sketching in your travel journal for months and years to come.

    It is the greatest pleasure when I receive a text or a tag from one of our AirBNB experience adventurers with their latest sketch on another vacation or just around town.

    A couple of ideas:

    1. We would love to provide additional resources to help you along your artist path. So we've built a page with tips, tricks, and inspiring watercolor artists and Urban Sketchers we admire, that we know will continue to provide guidance and inspiration.
    2. You can also sign up for our Weekly Watercolor email newsletter for the latest tips and interesting artists we follow around the world.
    3. Occasional painting meetups in The Village or a special painting hike will be posted in our Sketch Big Bear Instagram and Sketch Big Bear Facebook page.


    Help support the crowd and our planet at the same time.

    Grab a t-shirt, hoodie, or hat and a portion will be donated to our 1% for the Planet charity each year. (Learn more here.)