How to Keep a Consistent Art Practice While Traveling

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Keeping a regular art practice is important if you want to build a career as a professional artist. As society becomes more fast-paced and telecommuting more prevalent, artists may find themselves spending long periods of time away from home. Some, like digital nomads, make it a way of life. Others seek temporary escapes, drawn to the prospect of exploring new cultures, traditions, and landscapes.

New settings provide inspiration and can be a great way to fuel creativity. They spark the imagination and can help us revive our practice in exciting new directions. However, while it’s necessary to take restful breaks and carve out time for leisure, traveling can be challenging due to changes in routine, limited art supplies, and the distractions of being in a new place. For this reason, it’s important to find a balance between exploring new places and staying committed to your creative practice.

Although it may require detailed planning and a certain degree of flexibility, you can feed your travel bug, while keeping your creativity alive. Whether you are off on a weekend escapade in the local countryside or a sabbatical year in the Malaysian jungle, our practical tips and strategies will help you maintain a consistent art practice while on the go.

Art Practices while travelling

Pack Smartly

Before embarking on a trip, it’s essential to plan ahead and pack art supplies that are portable and versatile. Consider the type of art you want to create and pack accordingly. If you prefer watercolors, bring a compact watercolor kit, brushes, and a small drawing pad. If you enjoy sketching, a sketchbook, pencils, or markers will do. There are many lightweight options available on the market, such as travel easels, pocket-sized paint sets, and collapsible brushes. It’s also a good idea to research art supply stores at your destination, in case you run out or need replacements. Finally, remember to check luggage restrictions, such as weight and size, to avoid hefty fines.

Keep it Safe

Place liquids, such as paints and inks, or sharp objects, such as knives, in your checked bag or they may be confiscated before boarding the aircraft. Make sure they are tightly sealed and placed in durable, waterproof containers, such as a hard-shell case or a padded bag. This will provide adequate protection against bumps and jostles during travel and prevent any damage or spilling. Remove any flammable substances, including turpentine and mineral spirits, and replace them with non-hazardous materials. Don’t forget to pack a small cleaning kit, including a soft cloth or tissue, to clean your art supplies and surfaces as needed.

Book the Right Accommodation

When booking your trip, make sure your accommodation has all you need for you to create comfortably. For example, if your goal is to complete a large drawing, you may want a room with a desk. Copious paint usage may require a slop sink or, at the very least, a private bathroom. Lighting may also be an important factor for you. If so, find out if there are windows and an adequate amount of sunlight in your lodgings. If you need privacy and quiet to create, make sure your accommodation provides the right kind of atmosphere. Lastly, bring a drop cloth or a plastic sheet to protect surfaces from stains. 

Organize Your Schedule

Organize Schedule
AndreyPopov | Getty Images

While traveling, it’s easy to be swept away by endless entertainment, newfound friends, and breathtaking sights. That’s why creating a routine ahead of time is vital. Establish a schedule that works for you, based on your itinerary, space availability, and energy level. If you are traveling with other people, take their needs and interests into consideration as well. Let them know you will be working on your art during the trip and ask them what days and times are most suitable for them. For instance, you could wake up a few hours before your travel companions or find time in the evenings when you are winding down. Creating a routine will help you stay focused and ensure that you are consistent with your creative endeavors.

Embrace Change and Adapt to Your Surroundings

One of the challenges of maintaining a regular art practice while traveling is dealing with changes in routine and surroundings. Embrace these changes and use them as opportunities to fuel your creativity. Embrace the different colors, landscapes, cultures, and experiences of the places you visit, and let them inspire your art. Experiment with new techniques, subject matters, and styles that are influenced by your travels. For example, you can try painting with local pigments or incorporate found objects from your travels into your artwork.

Enjoy Yourself!

Remember why you booked your trip in the first place. You may be on a tropical vacation with your family, on an adventure sports expedition, or on a humanitarian mission across the world. Either way, it’s essential to leave time for fun and exploration, while you are on the road. Try to set realistic goals and be flexible, understanding that your routine may be disrupted from time to time. In most cases, making a quick sketch or dedicating a few hours a week to your art practice will be enough to keep the momentum going. Be kind to yourself and allow for creative spontaneity, remembering that travel itself can be a source of discovery and inspiration.

Maintaining a consistent art practice while traveling requires careful planning, adaptability, and creativity. However, by following these simple guidelines, you can continue your artistic journey even when you’re on the move. Traveling can provide unique and diverse experiences that can enrich your art practice and fuel your creativity. Embrace the opportunity to explore new cultures, landscapes, and people. Connect with local art communities, participate in art events, and seek out opportunities to collaborate with fellow artists to further enhance your artistic practice.

With the right mindset and preparation, you can continue creating art and nurturing your artistic practice no matter where your travels take you. So, pack your art supplies, embark on your adventures, and let your art journey continue to thrive as you explore the world. Safe travels and happy creating!



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