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"My NEED to art!" even while traveling...

Going on vacation for 2 weeks doesn't mean that I have to leave my art behind... It does mean that I need to be a bit more creative with the tools and supplies I can tote along, understanding that I have very limited space on the airplane, in the car, and various lodging places.

So I packed up what I consider my "must-haves":

  • my 48-colored pencil roll-up & sharpeners

  • watercolor paints, brushes, watercolor paper

  • supplies for magazine collage - scissors, pencils, slip-in pocket page album for organizing my findings, and a glue stick.

  • small sketch book, mechanical pencil with eraser to tote around in my purse

Sketching on the go

My challenge for this trip is to do quick sketches from real life scenes. Usually my sketches come from a reference image or sorts, but sketching while out and about is not so easy. You can tell that the darker the sketches mean that I had more time to spend on the details. There is no time for erasing!

The image on the left is from the back porch at George Washington's home in Mount Vernon, VA, overlooking the Potomac River. The image on the right is the entrance to the Smithsonian Freer Gallery of Art in Washington DC, while waiting at the bus stop for the Big Bus Tour.

New places = New inspiration

I am try to keep an open mind and take in as much of the unique surroundings as possible. When I feel a connection of any sort, I grab my iPhone and capture the image. I try to look out the car window more often, to watch the people as they pass by, to notice the flowers and unique tree leaves, rivers and bridges and I am strolling along the streets of the city.

I love the quaintness of the town's Main streets and I imagine what it might be like to live in a small town. I enjoy wandering in and out of small boutiques and local art galleries.

Unexpected Opportunities

While in Philly, we rode the Big Bus Tour and hopped off at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Steve had noticed that they were offering a Collage and Assemblage exhibit and I thought this would be a lot of fun for the whole family. After looking at all the artists' work in the gallery, we spent some time doing the hands-on activity. We basically had a bunch of "found" materials that we were to figure out a way to assemble them together without the use of glue. I think we all did pretty well having, fun as we relished in the air conditioning!!!

NYC... Coney Island or bust!

We were in New York for a few days visiting with my daughter, Madolyn, who is finishing her third show as a Stage Management fellow at Playwrights Horizons Theater. The show she is working on A Strange Loop. It was very thought-provoking - even Lin-Manuel Miranda (mainly known as the creator and star of Hamilton on Broadway) saw it and tweeted that the best compliment he could give was that watching the show made him want to go home and write some more. Stephen Sondheim (famous musical theater composer and lyricist for shows like Into the Woods, West Side Story, Gypsy, and Sweeney Todd, and many more.) The show was extended for 3 weeks! You can check it out here.

On her day off we decided to take the family to Coney Island. As we were walking along the boardwalk I noticed how Noah and Madolyn were arm in arm. I try to always capture these moments with my phone's camera, but this time I wanted to do something more... so I decided to make art with it (of course!). The middle image is using watercolors and the image on the right is using oil paint (both in progress).


On the airplane, all the space you have is the tiny tray table and your lap. And the lighting is terrible especially when your seat mate prefers having the shades down. And what is with the dark shadows from my head and hands while using the overhead lamp? Creating art while riding as a passenger in a car is challenging not only because of the bumpiness of the tires on the road, but because of being limited to daylight hours. I look to Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook art groups that I follow for inspiration. Sometimes I will watch YouTube videos of others creating artwork.

Hotel rooms are always a challenge due to the limited space it offers and its terrible lighting. Seriously, why are there only lamps and no overhead lighting! I am thankful for the morning light shining through the window as that is the best lighting for my art.

I have learned that oil painting is NOT a good thing to travel with! I took the advice of an artist that I follow on Instagram who squirts a little bit of each color in an Altoids tin box when he is on the go. So I decided to do the same. I found out that oil paint likes to slide all around, so I did the best I could with what I brought with me.

The painting of the flowers on the left will most likely not be dry enough for me to bring home without messing it all up! I had actually made that one last as I couldn't identify any of the colors. It just looked like a dark mass and it was already dried out on the top layer, so I had to dig down into the pile with my paintbrush. My attitude was, let's just say it... "WTF!". Let's just play and have fun even if I can't tell what color I am using until it touches the page! Actually it's one of my favorite paintings! I had so much fun with its intuitive nature... not really having a plan, and just watching it develop.


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