Art on the Go!

View from landing of Unit #113-Sanibel, 2017

I envy my artist friends who go on vacation and spend a great deal of time drawing in sketchbooks, painting, and working with mixed media while away from home. How do they do that? Since I was being flummoxed by combining vacation and work I went on-line to read what other artists think about vacationing and keeping up with their own art practices.

Ken Marchione, Painter

“To me vacation usually means the opportunity to look at or make art without interruptions or time constraints. Vacation is more of a pilgrimage than seeking rest and relaxation.”

Benny Andrews, Painter

“ I take a lot of vacations, little ones, a couple of days. It is like coming up for air, when I’m preoccupied with my work. Being obsessed with your art is like living in an enclosed bowl and it is necessary to come out of that bowl. Also taking time off and pursuing things like sports, gardening and doing the puzzle every day gives me a greater perspective on things, and this goes into my work.

Erin Nazarro, Painter

“ When I travel, I’m at my most creative. I go places that furnish the subject matter of my work: Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, and especially Mexico. The colors and rhythms natural to these countries are what I represent in my work. I paint while away, but when I return home I’ve been nurtured and I am even more inspired to create.”

Joan Wheeler, painter

“If I took a complete vacation from art, I would be even more difficult to live with. I once read an interview with a well-known artist who said that his wife had asked him to relax and take a break from art while at their vacation home. He tried to comply, but soon became fidgety and difficult. He decided the only way he could stand a vacation was to build a studio in their vacation home.”

Using my sketchbook is one way I stay connected to artistic practice. My travel companion is not a very patient person and I can get lost for hours when drawing. Not the best practice for making headway in the journey. I have sketchbook friends who can draw in the car. For me that would be an amazing feat. Probably the best advice I received for keeping a sketchbook for traveling is to:

  1. be okay that drawings will be a combination of quick on the spot sketching, with less detail and not finished.
  2. leave the first page or two of each day blank-at the end of the day use the pages for maps and streets walked that day or traveled by other means.
  3. draw objects such as tickets, souvenirs, food, street signs also at the end of the day when back at the “home away from home.”
  4. draw the view from the room, if it is a good view.
  5. be okay leaving lots of white space on the page-it can be filled in later if it looks too sparse.
  6. write commentary about personal feelings, thinking, reactions to things, smells, places.
  7. when sketching buildings and vistas: just draw a section, leave the top, bottom or sides unfinished. Let lines drift off, only add color for some parts.
Sanibel Island Florals, 2017

In this fast paced world, we need to slow down, see and record what is happening around us. Somewhere in all of this thinking about vacation is an answer for how much time I should spend for art practice and how much time for vacation. I just need to keep trying out different scenarios for maintaining balance!

Thanks for reading!