Hotel Belvedere on Lake Como
I found a number of my old watercolor paintings while I was organizing all the papers in my house. I had tucked them into old notebooks, guidebooks and in an art portfolio that was lost in the mess. Even if most of them were painted more than ten years ago--I felt that tug in my heart and remembered that watercolor painting was once a passion of mine--way before the hubby and the kids came into the picture.
A set of travel watercolors was always included on my list of "things to pack", right up there with my driver's license and credit cards. I had ambitious intentions of capturing the sights in a way a photograph couldn't.
The countryside of Northern Italy
Many times I wouldn't even take the set out, but the idea that it was in my suitcase was comforting. Nowadays, family trips are full of activity so it's hard to block off a few hours just to kick back and create a watercolor sketch.
The old train station at Soazza
The paintings included here were done during a watercolor workshop in Soazza (in the Ticino region of Switzerland) many years ago. My travel buddy on this trip was my good friend Christine, the original travel enthusiast, writer, businesswoman and Tokyo expert--who has finally parlayed her passion for travel into a business by publishing the very successful bi-monthly magazine, Travelife. She wrote about this particular travel adventure of ours in her column aptly called "The Frequent Flier". I'm so thankful she did because it brings back so many wonderful memories.
Hotel Ristorante al Cacciatore in Soazza was our home base for a whole week
When I first did these paintings, I wasn't thrilled with them because I was obsessed with the technical aspects--not enough dark shadows against the highlights, washed out colors, overworked areas, muddy colors, blah blah and more blah. That's why I just tossed them aside. But now that I look at them, I'm flooded with happy thoughts and memories. Ahh, maturity brings confidence, and great memories cancel out technical weaknesses.
Church of S. Martino in the middle of Soazza, a Swiss heritage site
When I got married a year after this trip, my wedding memento was a tiny original (yes, I painted all 82 of them!) watercolor of my wedding venue--the Carmel Mission Basilica. Good friends and close relatives flew in from all over the world just to be with us on our special day and I wanted them to go away with something very personal and memorable. The idea of painting the Mission Basilica was subconsciously inspired by this church painting I did during the Soazza workshop.
The Carmel Mission Basilica, my wedding venue, from the rear courtyardI'm so happy to be finally reunited with my travel set which was buried deep in the junk of my home office (again, thanks Kat!) I must bring it with me again and hopefully I will be diligent enough to pull it out of my suitcase.
Eegads, I didn't even clean it before I packed it away years ago!
This watercolor travel set was my only purchase on a trip to Berlin. I loved the stationery floor of the KaDeWe Department store that I spent hours in it.
You can find similar sets on Amazon
What's really nice about this Schmincke set is that aside from being very high-quality paint, the cool-looking compact metal case converts into a fairly large mixing palette when the tray of colors is removed. I know these close-up shots make it look huge, but the dimensions are only as big as two passports stuck together (like when you have a new passport but your US visa is still in the old one? That size.)
I'm now excited to create memorable images again. But first, I better start playing with the colors so I get comfortable again, and try to break loose from the self-imposed pressure of mastering technique.