the fiountain, villa torlonia, frascati, italy ~ oil on canvas ~ by john singer sargent ~ c.1907

Like a lot of people I first start packing for any trip by making a list. Highlighted at the top of the list are The Essentials — those things that you simply can’t travel without. In my case these include my wallet, id, plane ticket, boarding passes, cell phone, and….art supplies

Art supplies?  

Essential?

Yes.

For the thought of sitting idle somewhere without some form of creative expression at my fingertips is anathema — and that’s putting mildly.**



So of those art supplies… What to bring?


Or the harder question: What not to bring?



With a studio brimming with supplies, it’s oh-so-easy and tempting to bring a plethora of materials — for of course you want to be sure that when the Muse visits, you’re well equipped to accommodate her with sufficient supplies and choices.



But No.
The reality is that having too many choices can too often be crippling. Too many temptations and you can’t make a decision about anything, never-mind having to deal with hauling all of that crap around.



No, I’d rather be decisive in advance and minimize the choices.

But before packing, it’s important to establish why I’m bringing art supplies in the first place. In my upcoming travels, my main goal is to relax, and fortunately for me, one way I relax is by sketching and painting (I’m lucky that that is also how I earn my living!). With these trips I’m not looking to complete finished “masterpieces” for the larger art market.

Rather, my intent is to engage in creative reconnaissance: Take in the colors and textures and shapes and atmosphere of the place and see what moves and inspires me. Experiment and play and try things I haven’t tried before. Look. Watch. Listen. Feel. Observe. Play.

And draw.

And paint.

And draw.

And paint.

So now….what to bring?

** I also consider a good book and letter-writing accoutrements to be Essential.