I typically do not choose a place to paint, it chooses me. I am struck by the way light is illuminating the landscape or the way shapes and color play off each other. If I like what I see, it causes me to take pause, set up my easel and slap paint to a canvas.
Painting outdoors is not a passive or leisurely activity. It usually involves hiking somewhere which means shortness of breath, blisters on the feet, a dry mouth and sweat dripping from the brim of my hat. The actual process of recording a scene on canvas requires technical skill, clear thinking and some guts. The reward is a shady spot along the side of a river or looking out over a valley from the top of a mountain or the quiet that dusk brings at the end of the day. Its the quiet moments, away from everyday life, in the midst of the wondrous landscape that makes painting outdoors worth doing.
When my mind is pure and uncluttered from distraction, maybe ...just maybe... the paint will flow from my brush in a magical dance of color and shapes. When everything is right, a painting worthy of the effort comes to life. It is the orchestration ... the placement of shapes, the mixing of colors and the application of paint that makes painting outdoors the total creative experience.