Ah, Vacation…..Time for More Painting!

I put aside my oil painting work to take up a sketchbook and
watercolors to capture the sights and sounds around me
during my trip.

If you are a painter, you know that sometimes the best thing to do is get away from it all…and do more painting. I was very blessed this summer to take a wonderful vacation with my family to Turkey and Greece. When I travel, I like to keep a notebook that is a memoir of the activities of the trip. But for the first time I decided that instead of doing plein air oil paintings, I would try to do watercolor paintings instead and add them to my travel notebook.

I was captivated by the beautiful blue waters I saw during my trip,
and tried to recreate the hue on paper.

I got some advice on a limited palette and equipment from my favorite watercolorist, Alexander Creswell. Alex makes extraordinary paintings of architecture and interiors, and even sail boats-under sail! He's kind of an extreme-sport watercolorist and he recommended a set of primary colors, and burnt sienna. I ended up taking Ultramarine Blue, Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Yellow Light, and Burnt Sienna, in small tubes, and a small plastic folding palette. His most important advice to me was "have fun!"

And, have fun I did. From the beginning of the trip to the end, I did one or two quick sketches a day. I saw quick improvement after my first couple of messy attempts, and rediscovered the pleasure of making art for no reason but the joy of brush in hand, and color on the paper.

The Aegean Sea along the coast of Turkey is unbelievably blue. I was dazzled by the intensity of the color and so beguiled by trying to capture that mesmerizing hue on paper.

Sometimes, we can forget the original spark that got us into this whole "wanna be an artist" mess in the first place: the fun and joy of it! Painting can be magical and addictive! So go on vacation from your regular studio practice and mess around with a new medium, in a new setting, with no expectations except having fun!

I'm back home with a better perspective on how much joy art can bring to my daily life, just through practice and experience.


For more painting instruction from Patricia, check out her latest DVD, Figure Painting: Realistic Skin Tone.

Related Posts:


The Artist's Life Blog
Patricia Watwood

About Patricia Watwood

Patricia Watwood has studied painting with Jacob Collins at the Water Street Atelier, and also with Ted Seth Jacobs at Ecole Albert Defois. She earned her MFA with honors from New York Academy of Art.

Watwood paints nudes, figures, portraits and still lifes in the classical tradition. Her paintings draw on allegorical, mythological, and narrative themes. She continues the classical pursuits of representational painting, with an eye on the contemporary world. The recurring theme in her paintings is the spiritual human presence. Watwood states, “Formal training is the indispensable underpinning of my practice. I seek to follow and build upon the artistic intelligence and traditions of the past, and bring them anew to my own generation.”

Watwood has exhibited in group and solo shows in New York, Paris, Houston, San Francisco and Long Island.  Her work is represented by John Pence Gallery in San Francisco. Her figurative paintings have been included in several museum shows, including “Enchantment” at the Hartford Art School, “Slow Painting,” at the Oglethorpe Museum; “The Great American Nude,” at the Bruce Museum of Arts and Sciences; and in “Representing Representation VI,” at the Arnot Museum. Her work has been featured in numerous art publications including International Artist, and a recent cover article in American Artist magazine.
Watwood also does portrait commissions, and is represented by Portraits, Inc.  Her recent projects include a portraits for Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government, and the former Mayor of St. Louis, for St. Louis City Hall.  Watwood is currently teaching at the New York Academy of Art, and at the Teaching Studios of Art in Brooklyn. 

Watwood and her husband and two daughters live in Brooklyn, New York.

3 thoughts on “Ah, Vacation…..Time for More Painting!