Thank God that’s January out of the way, now February has arrived and we can start thinking about our Summer holidays. This year why not try something different on your holidays, put the camera away and start sketching the beautiful scenery in front of you. You will create a scene better than any snapshot, and when you arrive home you can develop your sketch into a full painting.
Above are three paintings that I developed from sketches years ago while on holiday.
You don’t need expensive equipment for this, you are on holiday and want to travel light. My son Paul’s partner Britt, (Who by the way designed this whole website ) always carries a small sketch pad with her and jots down things every day including little colour sketches.
Here are some examples of travel palettes available from around £11 to about £50, all you need is a small watercolour pad and you are ready to go. If you want you can use a small set of coloured pencils and a pad of cartridge paper to make a lovely drawing of the scene, or watercolour pencils where you can wet the pencil marks to achieve a wash. These particular palettes are available online at Ken Bromley but there are many other sites such as Jacksonart, Amazon, or local art shops such as The Art Shop in Darlington near to me.
For just under £10 you can get 12 half pans of Cotman watercolours and brush that will serve you well on your travels.
This is slightly more expensive at £16.12 but has an extra mixing tray attached.
This is a beautiful set in a lovely presentation box. There are primary colours and Indian ink with palette and brush, and you can always add a few more colours. Right now this is a bargain reduced from £26.75 to £10.25
Cotman Travel Bag
This is a nice set with a travel bag to hold your materials, contains 14 colours, brushes, and a water bottle.
Artist’s Field Box
This is a more pro set containing artist quality paints, water bottle, brush and mixing areas. It is £50 but a quality set if you want to push the boat out.
Pablo Coloured Pencils
An alternative to paints if you don’t wish to carry water around is this set of coloured pencils. All you need is a plain cartridge pad and your set. My art classes love using pencils.
Derwent Watercolour Pencils
This is an in between solution, using watercolour pencils where you add water to the drawing to create washes. This can be done on site or later at your convenience.
The beauty of these palettes are they are simple to use and do not attract too much attention such as standing in front of a large easel. Once you get over any initial shyness you will soon enjoy painting on holiday and will find any onlookers are generally friendly. If you want to dissuade anyone just start cleaning your brushes and tidying up, they soon get bored and move on. I have had many strange remarks such as “Where do you get those left hand brushes” , but mostly, people are genuinely interested and will ask friendly questions, and may even ask to buy your painting. If you are in need of alcohol remember Van Gogh gave away his paintings in exchange for a beer or two.
Below are some examples of paintings done by my art class students on their holidays, and examples fro Britt’s sketch book which she has carried everywhere from Barcelona to Japan.
Now if you are really keen you can go one step further and go on an organised painting holiday. There are many, many courses on offer and nearly all let you take your partner along at a reduced price. I was once approached about running watercolour classes in the south of France and was tempted, but it would have taken up a lot of my time. You can find these courses online, and the variety and prices are a mixture to suit anyone. They are not cheap but do offer a holiday with a difference. As well as abroad courses can be found in your own country. There are also cruises which run art classes aboard, if you can find some time away from eating.
- St. Ives School of Painting offer a range of courses covering different subjects
- Artist in Italy has painting courses in Tuscany and Umbria.
- Painting holidays in France does what it says on the tin
- There are hundreds but if there is a particular artist you like then search for them and see where they are holding workshops. One of my favourite artists is Alvaro Castagnet and if you ever find a course near you then grab it. He was once in the North of England but I was away myself at the time. If you live near LA in the States then he is running workshops this April at The David Art Centre.
Well that’s it, I hope I have given you encouragement to try painting on your holidays. Give it a go, you will enjoy it.