A World Filled With Love, Detail, 36 x 48" (with frame) / 91.44 x 121.92 cm, Watercolour on Paper, 2006
My posts seem to be a lot more, ‘reactionary’ these days—I understand being reactionary isn’t considered a good thing in general. In any case, this post comes as the result of the ‘happiness meeting’ we had at my nice new job last Thursday. That ‘happiness meeting’ is one where we get together and talk about stuff that made you happy over the last week.
Very briefly, in a previous post (and other posts since) I’ve spoken about how I’m also a writer (the kind that works in advertising and marketing). And very recently (eight working days ago, to be precise) I started another job that brings people together from literally all over the world on the internet.
Anyway, during that meeting, Erikka, one of my new co-workers (who’s the only other one of us from the Philippines) shared how she was currently country-hopping all over Europe. And one of my new bosses (who’s from Germany but is currently ‘digital nomadding’ all over South America) remarked on how, once we were able to meet, I could maybe do like a company painting out there or something.
Paints On A Plane
I told that boss of mine that that wasn’t as easy as it sounded—at least, in my experience, because they don’t generally allow paint on a plane (it being flammable and all). While the FAA says “most artist paints are non-flammable” it also says “most paints and paint-related solvents are regulated as flammable liquids and are forbidden in carry-on or checked baggage”.
Paint is horrifically pricey where I come from and I generally don’t like to risk just having my stuff confiscated and thrown away. So much for my private fantasy of getting over to Guerra Paint, buying everything that wasn’t nailed down and taking it home with me ^o^; Anyway, that’s why I usually travel with dry media, or watercolour in pans (dry or semi moist).
Now that’s not to say you can’t ever bring ‘paint-paint’ with you on your travels—you’ll find a great guide on how to do this, here. I have to say, though, that travelling with wet canvases has always been rather stressful for me, and I have had one or two messy little accidents happen. But hey, living on the edge is what makes art so much fun, right? ^O^;
I feel a little odd writing about this at a time when I, personally still feel a little iffy about hitting the road—I realise it’s business as usual for a lot of people out there right now. Back here as I write this, the city I live in has just come out of lockdown (and gone into a sort of ‘slightly less locked down’ lockdown lol).
But to be honest, as much as I love travelling whenever I can get the chance I’ve always found it difficult to mix my practice with travel—I know, I know, and, I know. It’s just, the kind of things I work on have had me cooped up in the painting factory which turns into a home office which turns back into a painting factory, rinse and repeat (lol) for months on end.
I once had to go on a company training trip in Singapore right in the middle of preparing for one of the biggest exhibits of my life. To this day, looking back, I don’t know how I made it through that, mentally as well as physically.
(Before you read this part, I want you know I’m not knocking photography.)
Right now I’m talking about the kind of leisurely drawing or painting that I love to do whenever I go someplace new or just to relax, when I’m travelling purely for pleasure. I’m generally 99% incommunicado when I travel because I don’t like to mix business and pleasure x I like to really, immerse myself in where I am without worrying about work, you know what I mean?
I mean I know there are cameras on your mobile phones, camera-cameras and gimbals, drones and whatevers, but for me, when you draw something, when you visually record a place where you are, it’s so much more personal. You can remember the place, and how you felt in that place so much more vividly than you could versus taking a photo of it.
If we go by etymology and photography is writing with light on paper, drawing or painting a place you’re visiting is writing with light on your mind.
In my case, unfortunately, only I will ever remember or see the places I’ve drawn the way I saw and experienced them ^O^*** To anyone else, my little scribbles would just look like, scribbles hahahahahahahhaha
Do yourself a favour.
But I highly recommend anyone who’s even remotely inclined to try drawing or painting to try it—because it requires really looking at things to be able to capture the salient details that will enable you to relive your trip. (This reminds me of the mindfulness drawing workshop Robert Alejandro gave last year.)
I also recommend drawing places even if you aren’t travelling. You never know when you’ll have to leave where you are now, even if you’ve been there for ages and it doesn’t look like you’re leaving any time soon. You might want to remember things from there, too.
And unless you do mean to like, purposely set out to produce a collection that’s going into a book or a show or something, you don’t have to worry about anyone seeing what you record or judging it or something. You’d be capturing these places for yourself and no one else.
(This is the first (and second) time I’m ever posting a video of myself in a blog.)
Incidentally, one of my classmates at the art classes I was taking last year was Chiara Gomiselli and I’m a huge fan of her work. She did purposely set out to travel all over Italy and paint the places she visited, and she did actually compile her work into a book which you can see here.
She also formed a little group of our classmates which was meant to help us learn how to do videos for social media, and in that group we were supposed to make a video every day for a whole month. The following couple of videos below were among the daily videos I made for that group where I shared a few things I made while I was on the road ^_^
10 Tips for Travelling Artists
As soon as things get better (and they will), I’m hoping to be able to hit the road again with a fresh set of pens and my little sketchbooks to record some new, happier (if lonelier) memories. There are still lots of places I haven’t seen that I would so love to go and experience and save in my memory banks for a time when I may not be able to get around as much.
So to wrap this up I’d like to share a few of my own personal bits of advice for ‘arting’ on the go, or things I’d like to try as soon as I head out on my next adventure.
Finally, try challenging yourself to pick up a pen or a brush before pulling out your phone to snap a photo. I guess that’s a pretty tall order and hardly anyone’s actually going to do that, but draw like you didn’t have your phone and there was no other way for you to save the memory of where you went. ^_^*
I’d really be grateful for any other tips you might have for drawing or painting on the road, just as I’d love to hear any ‘arting-while-travelling’ experiences you may have had. Share what you can in a comment below or contact me to let me know ^_^