In a previous blog post, I wrote about putting together a travel sketching kit. Here, you can see me putting my travel kit into action. So as not to make the video too long, I sketched the twig before the video started and compressed it into a hyper-lapse format. Watch me use colored pencils as paint with the use of a water brush. Click on photo to start the video.
Travel sketching is fun to do while on vacation. While I don’t consider myself an advanced sketcher, my sketches have a way to bring back vivid memories of my trip, much more so than photographs (which I take lots of too 🙂 Sketching requires me to be wholly present while I explore and record my new experiences.
After much trial and error, I’m happy to say that I’ve finally figured out which sketching supplies to pack, and how surprisingly few I need. Take a look at what’s in my art travel bag.
- Spiral-bound watercolor journal. Use one with 140 lb. paper so it’s heavy enough that it doesn’t bleed through and can take water without warping. You can even turn your sketches into postcards to mail to your friends. (Don’t forget to pack stamps)
- Mechanical pencil for the preliminary sketch. It never needs sharpening so I can eliminate bringing a sharpener.
- Knead eraser. I erase my pencil marks after I’ve drawn over them with ink.
- Waterproof black pen (it won’t bleed when wet). I like the Staedtler permanent Lumnocolor fine size.
- Water-soluble colored pencils. Mine are Prismacolor, but Caran D’Aches are great too.
- Waterbrush. Derwent #2 (brush and water all in one so I never need a water source either).
- Small bag to hold it all.
That’s is. In the past, I would bring watercolor paints, a small water container, paper towels, multiple paintbrushes, and more. I’ve found water-soluble color pencils to be a simpler solution. I can layer them to create a wide variety of colors just like mixing paint.
So grab a sketchbook and some supplies, get out there, and have fun! Remember, your sketches don’t have to be perfect; it’s the act of sketching that’s important. It’s calming and lets you connect with the unique and beautiful things in this world. Focus on what moves you, and draw to remember it.
I encourage you to tuck a sketchpad in your suitcase when you’re packing for your next trip and see what pleasure it might bring for you.
I traveled to Italy this week with my husband and some friends to see Christo’s newest work, “Floating Piers” on the beautiful Lake Iseo. I have always loved Christo’s work and have been fortunate to see his “The Umbrellas” in California in 1993, and “The Gates” in New York City in 2005.
Our group decided we wanted to view this work in every way we could. We started the tour by helicoptering from the north end of the lake, flying over the steep mountains that border this lake before swooping down to circle around the various piers and island surrounds created by Jeanne-Claude Christo. After setting down, we walked the short distance to town to join the thousands of other tourists and walk the 5.5 km of golden fabric covered “floating” piers and walkways that are part of the exhibit.
The walkway is assembled from 220,000 high-density polyethylene cubes that form its 53 foot wide walkways. Its surface is covered with a waterproof bright saffron-colored fabric that contrasts beautifully against the deep blue of the lake. I could see the movement of the water under the pier and feel the rocking of the waves under my feet. One of my favorite moments was just sitting on the edge of the pier and feeling the movement made by the water under me and the walkers around me.
We finished off the tour with a ride on a stunning 1971 Aqua Riva power boat that carried around the piers and wrapped islands in high style before speeding down to the south end of the lake to finish off our tour.
It was a special day with special friends and I feel lucky to have had them with me to share it with. Now I have my fingers crossed to see Jeanne-Claude’s next planned installation in Colorado…”Over the River” hopefully installed in the next few years. Except this time, I’ll experience the art on a white water raft!