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Chocolate with Aloha 5×8 watercolor in a Moleskine sketchbook

I’m back in the studio after a week-long vacation with family. The moleskine watercolor above was inspired by the decadent dessert my husband and I shared towards the end of the trip. Taking a small slice of time to relax with people I love in the middle of a tightly packed holiday season might be my new Tradition. Sitting in the sun near children laughing in the pool, sketching in my moleskine and sipping iced tea – while listening to Christmas music – was a bit surreal, but it gave time to ponder the impact of staying in the moment, not thinking about upcoming To-Do’s, and slowing the holiday pace enough to fully enjoy marinating in family-time.

On a family hike in Waimea Falls, Oahu

It was so good to simply hang out together on consecutive days in bathing suits or pajamas, and share little anecdotes, or tell funny stories and recall nostalgic memories. Witnessing the second-by-second highlight reel of an 8 & 5 year old making hysterical observations, humorous grand-kid-antics and their effusive excitement for what’s next was a joy-marathon. Highly recommended. 🙂

Making art on vacation with the littles; Let’s draw what we did today 🙂

I packed light, since I wasn’t sure I’d get art-making time with just a week’s worth of time, and little ones in our midst; I took my 30 year old Winsor & Newton watercolor palette (I don’t see it available any more, but this one looks comparable), some travel brushes, a mechanical pencil and a 5×8 moleskine watercolor sketchbook, with a few reference photos tucked into the pocket of  the end-paper,  just in case I didn’t feel inspired by the scenery. (I was indeed inspired, but I used the reference photos to sketch and paint from on the plane, so I’m glad I took them. I’ll share that in the next post.) I bought the art supplies on Amazon. Oh, and I also tucked some regular printer paper in a book for doodling with my grandkids (see above).

  • Did you know?

When searching for watercolor-associated art supplies online, be sure to look for both spellings, since Europe and Canada spell this media “watercolour”, and here in the US, we spell it “watercolor”.

Some of the best-known suppliers we purchase from are British (Winsor & Newton) and European (Senellier, Schminke, Derwent), so they often list their merchandise on Amazon as “watercolour” paper, paint, pigments, brushes, etc.

Hawaiian Reds at Waimea Falls in Oahu – inspiration to paint at every turn

Speaking of traveling and art, have you seen the Art & Travel Club on Facebook? It’s not really a “club” per se, but it is a group of artists who make imagery from their travel adventures. Anyone can join and share travel-related art on the page (but as in all Groups, check the rules, as some limit the number of images you can post per day, etc.). Along the same lines, you can join the Urban Sketchers Group (be sure to search for Urban Sketcher groups by city too, so you can keep track of events and join in on a local sketch-crawl).

Random moleskine watercolor sketching with breakfast, at lunch, mid afternoon by the pool, on the beach near sunset, or after dinner on the dining room table. Portable, small format art supplies make all the difference in the world. 🙂

Do you ever search for Groups on Facebook? Just to see who’s gathering over which topics? Type your topic (drawing, figure painting, pastels, etc.) in the search bar at the top of the Facebook page, and then look at the tabs across the top of the search results page, and click on Groups. And as mentioned above, search *both* spellings for watercolor, and you’ll see two completely different (and lengthy) lists of groups. #happysearching

Painting little globes of raspberry goodness in a moleskine sketchbook

Where is your next travel adventure? Are you going to visit family over the holidays? Will you bring art supplies with you?  A notebook and a pencil? And maybe some loose leaf paper to share with others who might like to try it with you? 🙂

Thanks for visiting today, and I’ll see you in the next post!


P.S. You can subscribe for free to get these posts via email by signing up here. Be sure to look for & click the link in your confirmation email.

P.P.S.  Here’s a little video-vacation to Great Britain for you – the history of Derwent pencils, with a tour through the factory:

 Art Quote

I ordered a coffee and a little something to eat and savored the warmth and dryness. Somewhere in the background Nat King Cole sang a perky tune. I watched the rain beat down on the road outside and told myself that one day this would be twenty years ago.

~Bill Bryson


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3 thoughts on “Watercolor: Chocolate with Aloha ( & moleskine travel sketching)”

  1. Gaylee Garabedian

    Always enjoy these little peeks into your cranial thoughts and watercolors! So colorful, yet calm and peaceful. So, I’m wondering what book you were listening to and I remember buying the little Windsor watercolor set for my boys when we set off for our Mexico cruise in 1997. It was perfect!

    1. Hello there, you. While on the plane, I listened to and *loved* Rules of Civility my Amor Towles, and now I’m listening to Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson. So far – it’s wonderful. I love that you took watercolors on your mexico sailing adventure! Show me the artwork on our next visit! xoxo

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