Much of the recent online dialogue about creativity has been about establishing patterns, routines and incorporating art into our everyday lives. What happens when our schedule and structure changes? How then do we navigate our desire to be creative?
As many of you know I’m doing a bit of traveling this month to visit family and friends. I am now stateside after having a lovely experience at the Alive Conference just this past week in Berlin. Amidst all of this traveling, I want to incorporate art making time as much as possible. How and when?
I packed myself a small blank sketchbook and two small pads of watercolor paper. I brought two pencils, a sharpener, eraser, and two pens. I also brought a small watercolor kit. The original aim had been to create my own travel watercolor tin, but when I couldn’t find the right colors to create my own palette I bought this one instead.
I’m pretty pleased with this Winsor & Newton set. It’s small enough to fit into my purse. I keep a really small plastic container for water with a sponge and then one of two watercolor pads with me: either my Winsor & Newton 7 x 5 spiral pad or my Kilimanjaro Watercolor block.
(In case you love the idea of making your own watercolor traveling tin you can find a tutorial here.)
In addition to my drawing and painting, I am an avid writer. I looked at the current journal I was working in and kept thinking about the weight. So rather than sticking with my A-Type inclination (I must finish one journal before I start another!) I opened up one of my thin and small Moleskines to bring with me on my trip.
Writers, you too can find different ways to travel without bulking up your luggage. Find an app to take with you on your ipad if you don’t want to carry a laptop. If you don’t want to write, record yourself and transcribe it later. Or you can go old-school like myself and use a small portable Moleskine and a pen. I particularly like the thin, soft cover Moleskines for writing and drawing. They have both ruled line journals and their blank sketchbook versions which are lightweight and thus, don’t add a whole bunch of weight to your carry-on luggage. I love mine, one is already half full from my notes and journaling from the conference!
Establishing a routine can be difficult enough all in itself, but to also make room for art while you travel? How the heck do we do that?!
(1) Be mindful.
Think about moments in your travels where you have a brief bit of time. Are you playing with your phone or could you have a sketchbook and pen at the ready?
(2) Be forgiving.
Think about when and where you can make art, but also honor your time in a new city, or with your loved ones. If you can’t get your art in one day, don’t beat yourself up. Just consider when you might next create!
(3) Be open.
Traveling means you may not have all the resources you are accustomed to having. Make it a game to find objects of a certain color with your camera while you document your experience, or, do quick contour drawings. There are many, varied ways you can express your creativity without image references and a studio space.
While I was in Berlin, it was a whirlwind trip that included a two-day conference, so I didn’t have much free time. When I did have a minute to myself I was so tired from all the fresh air, walking and socializing of the conference that I even fell asleep on my bed sitting up. (Ha, that never happens!) I did manage to do some contour drawings on my way to Berlin.
I’m hoping in the future to incorporate an afternoon of every trip where I can sit for a minute and be with my sketchbook. I love to photograph everything and anything, but now I’m being more mindful with my camera shots and I want to spend some time making art on location. It’s another strategy for me to slow down and be mindful in our ever quickening lives.
It’s a daily choice we have to make: do you want to incorporate your creativity into your life? Let’s find a way to make it a reality together.
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: Create your own traveling artist kit. Talk about it in the comments below! Take a photo of your kit and tag me @ArtistStrong on Twitter and Instagram so I can celebrate your decision to travel with your creativity.
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