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What’s in my artist’s travel bag?

As many of you know, we spent the first seven weeks of the year doing some epic travelling in Vietnam and India. I try to paint as much as possible whilst I’m travelling as it’s my way of capturing the mystery and beauty of a new place.

Our adventures were nothing short of magical. The contradictions of daily life there fuelled my creativity. I immersed myself in painting wherever I could.

From a practical level, what do you bring along for a seven-week journey with only one case? In the end I decided upon taking 3 types of sketchbooks, a professional travel watercolour set, a variety of black Faber-Castell pens, a foldable lightweight table easel and a white Posce pen. It might seem excessive to bring 3 sketchbooks, but each had a purpose.

The smallest was my moleskin pocket A6 watercolour book, which was purely for notetaking and jotting down colours, like an art diary. My A5 spiral bound watercolour pad was the most used of all three. It was great for very quick sketches or for when I had a little more time on my hands. The largest paper I took, was primarily used for works painted back at my hotel, rather than in-situ sketches. This was a cut up sheet of Saunders Waterford 300lb NOT paper which is as firm as card and beautiful absorbency. It was fantastic to get out this paper, set up the easel and get lost in a painting.

I found it interesting how my style had to become extremely loose and fluid in order to accommodate a larger painting in a very short timescale ( I painted the Taj Mahal in 45 mins as we had a safari to attend!). As such it seems to me that it evokes more feeling somehow. It was all about capturing the essence of the place rather than replicating it in huge amounts of detail. (insert taj mahal here)

There’s something about the immediacy of painting whilst travelling and trying to capture how you feel whilst on such an adventure. I was anxious beforehand if I had packed the ‘right’ equipment, but I was really pleased with how it all worked, and with the paintings I produced.

Taj Mahal
A painting of the Taj Mahal, created whilst in India
Coconut Forest, Vietnam
Painting in situ in the Coconut Forest, Vietnam
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