As an artist I have a lot of deadlines, shows and galleries wanting work and wanting it tomorrow. So it is real easy for me to put off little things that keep my eye sharp like sketching from life, either a model or outside. I went to an indoor ceremony where cameras were not allowed and sketched for a few hours, forcing myself to see only the action and simple shapes. The mall or a restaurant is a good place for that. Doing thumbnail drawings outside for design and composition is also important, simplifying large masses and values helps to see the overall design which is what holds a painting together. That's where the dog comes in. My kids have a dog and since they don't walk him anymore, that chore has fallen to me. A 45 minute walk that I don't have time for. I finally realized it is a great opportunity to do thumbnail composition sketches with a 5 x 7 sketchbook and conte crayon or 6B graphite pencil. The dog doesn't let me stay in one place for more than a few minutes so I don't get too detailed.