Friday, April 29, 2016

Five things I learned from an Art Road Trip

'Flying High'      5x7    pastel      ©Karen Margulis
available $75
We must have said the same thing every day. At some point in the day Marsha and I would look at one another and exclaim how blessed we were to have the opportunity to do what we love. The chance to travel and paint and teach with a great friend was a trip of a lifetime. We spent 17 days driving over 2000 miles and living out of a suitcase (or two). I came away from the experience filled with inspiration and enriched more than I can possibly express.

Yesterday I wrote about the five ways that I was enriched by attending the Plein Air Convention. Today I'd like to share five ways the road trip out west enriched my life as an artist. Enjoy my thoughts that are in no particular order of importance.

a collage of beautiful skyscapes captured from the car

1. Have your camera ready at all times!
We both had our cameras out and ready to shoot at all times. I got some of my favorite shots of the trip from the car as we drove at 70 mph. I love taking photos and not just for painting references so keeping my camera ready was a must!


Packing as light as I could for 17 days of painting and teaching

2. Pack Light....and then reevaluate and pack even lighter!
It is my goal to pack light but I am also the type of person who needs to be prepared for anything. That mindset tends to be anti-light!  Added to the fact that we needed extra supplies to teach a workshop added to the load. We laughed when we needed two bell carts to get all of our gear to the convention hotel. In hindsight I could have done without a lot of what I brought. Packing light should be a priority because it gives you so much freedom....and less to keep up with.  It is now my goal to cut my load in half for the next trip.

We managed with just two bell carts!

My suitcase exploded! The aftermath of 5 busy convention days!

3. Bring a sketchbook
There is always room for a small sketchbook and a pencil and if you pack it just right you can even put together a small kit with watercolors,pens and pencils. I enjoyed the time we took to simply sit in a beautiful spot and sketch. I know that when I look at these sketches I can recall every detail of the place more intensely than looking at a photo of the same place. A sketchbook is worth it's weight in gold.

sketching the bluebonnets in Texas

sketching the saguaros in the Saguaro National Park

4. Bring some good snacks
You never know what food you'll find on the road so a bag of good snacks is important. One night after 9 hours on the road we just didn't feel like going back out to eat so we relied on our trusty snack bag for some apples and peanut butter.  Good snacks made the road trip better. ( I will admit that I was tired of apples and peanut butter after 17 days but they did serve a good purpose!)

Road food

5. Don't forget a small pastel kit
I had my sketchbook. I had my larger Heilman box and tripod for the convention and workshop so I wasn't sure if I needed to throw in my smaller Heilman sketchbox. I packed it at the last minute and I sure am glad I did! There were days when I just didn't feel like dragging out my tripod and getting set up. It was easy to find a spot, open the sketchbox and paint. I will never leave this kit at home again. It took up little space and was always ready if I found time to paint.

I brought my sketchbox to the Old Tucson paint out.
It was a fantastic experience. I encourage everyone to plan a road trip with art friends. It doesn't have to be an epic 17 day adventure. Even getting away for an overnight with like minded friends will be something that you will always cherish.

If you missed our trip report head over to www.twowanderingartists.com for the full report.

5 comments:

Sue Marrazzo said...

GREAT POST!!!!!!!

Marsha Savage said...

Karen, I hope you know how much it meant to me to have this trip with you! Fun, good companionship, and inspiring and thoughtful conversations. Your the best!

TAC said...

I am new to your site. I love your work and I'm enjoying your blog.

Dee Martella said...

You are indeed blessed!

robertsloan2art said...

Great post! Love all the photos and as always grinning at your packing and kit. I'm the same way, but what gets packed down lightest is clothing and stuff. I keep that brute simple to spare more room for art supplies. I might do laundry a little more often but still be glad to have more pastels, pads, sketchbooks, etc.