My husband and I purchased an RV a few years ago, getting ready for my retirement in Oct. 2014. He had retired the previous year. We purchased a 28′ Jayco Eagle Lite, and with our dog Meadow, had tried out a few short trips around our state – Arizona. I had visions of traveling down the road sketching, taking pictures out the window, ultimately, using for reference material for watercolor paintings. Then, once we set up and settled in, go outside the RV, on a perfect weather day, painting my creations. I’ve been painting for the last 35 years but my day job had taken most of the wind out of my sails year-after-year. This day dream of painting on the road was my day-by-day dream. I could paint what local scenes we came upon and with a quick mat and protective envelope set up for pass-byres to buy. What a lofty plan! I’d be known far and wide as the retired artist on the road!
I had done some research from other artists who had packed up their RV, and headed down this road of artist discovery. Here was the trick – plan ahead, pack small, and paint small. Try to pack your small paint pallet, small painting surface, rubber-banded brushes, and lastly enough small sheets of watercolor paper. All of this into one container with other items needed: paper towels, cup for water, mist bottle, pencils, erasers, etc., etc.
First trip out proved to be lots of set up, settle in and when finally set up paints, it was inside rather than outdoors with the not so perfect weather. I think we had one good day in the total week out. Incredibly windy and with any paint medium, a killer. Or did I want to see my painting surface take sail on the desert wind? No. OK, so I’ll paint indoors. And I did manage a few small compositions. Also added some to a new art journal. The art journal proved to work out well with notes and tips on color, mood, and information of a painting waiting to happen.
What did I learn from this? Plan for any situation. Haul the art materials and if opportunity arises, great. If not, be sure to take the camera for reference photos to use back in the studio, where there is perfect weather.
Editor’s Note: You can see more of Barbara’s work and an interesting project she just completed at: http://outoftheblueart.blogspot.com/