Digital photography is so ridiculously cheap and easy that a weekend trip can result in 150 jpegs. Sure you can post them on Flickr or Picasa, but what then? Yes, your friends looked at them once, but does anyone ever look at those online photo albums twice?

On the other hand, a small painting that you made with your own hands? That gets matted and framed and hung in a place of honor. You can make a painting for yourself, or make one for your friends at home. (If they're into that kind of thing ... don't give art to people who aren't arty. It just makes everyone uncomfortable)

| Some of my original watercolors are available for sale in my
| Etsy store: http://artsibitsi.etsy.com

Watercolor is a great medium for travel. It doesnt take up a lot of room in your luggage, and the paintings dry quickly so that they can be packed with a minimum of fuss. You can work fast and small; I like to do 4x6" postcards. I can bang out a decent little landscape in less than an hour, from set-up to finish. Your results may vary.

Watercolor is also a great medium for novices. Nobody expects a watercolor to have photographic quality and detail. And if you make a real mess, you can shred the evidence.

Painting is a nice way to pass time on long, quiet afternoons while the rest of your group naps.

Finally, if you want friends, sit down in a quiet corner with a box of paints and a brush. You will become instantly irresistible to passers-by.

Step 1: Materials

Actually you can probably purchase a lot of this stuff on the road. I've picked up everything in foreign countries and at some pretty rustic markets.

To pack
  • Watercolor paper (140 lb or more) cut into 4x6 cards. Heavier stock really is better.
  • Cheap paints - I can't tell the difference between the 50c grade school paint box and the $45 travel paint set, except for the choice of colors. The quality of the pigment seems similar, and they take up about the same amount of room in your luggage. However, if you need "burnt sienna" and brown won't do, pay for the better paints.
  • A few brushes, at least one fine tip and one broad tip. I have one round calligraphy brush that I really like.
  • Pencil and eraser
  • Waterproof container - I use a transparent pouch with a sliding zipper

To get on site

  • Paper towels or napkin
  • Glass water


  • Black marker ... added at the end, improves your paintings dramatically
  • Painter's tape - use this to hold your paper to the table. Keeps the edges from curling. And if you're painting outside, keeps the whole thing from blowing away,.
  • Watercolor pencils & sharpener - Oh, these are so neat. And they make me feel so much more talented than I am.
Love that tree painting, and especially the phrase, &quot;for a seascape, put the blue stripe at the bottom&quot; LMAO<br> <br> A small battery-powered fan (or an electric hairdryer, those travel ones that fold up totally rock) works well to dry the layers. When I work in acrylics, I use extenders, and if I waited for them to dry on their own I'd wander off and lose interest in my painting, so an electric hairdryer is part of my acrylic toolkit. But there are small, quiet fans you can slip in the art bag, and they work great on watercolors. Those &quot;personal fan&quot; things you can pick up for a buck or two, not so good for personal cooling, but good for watercolors!<br> <br> A gold or silver fine point sharpie is also a nice touch, in addition to the black. Go ahead - gild that lily, or at least the outline.
Thanks.<br><br>I like the idea of using the metallic marker too. Very Klimpt-esque.
Thank you for this Ideal and I love this tree, laying on my back looking through a tree was a favorite thing to do, but due to age... I haven't done it in a long time... I'm adding it to my to do list.
I've done this and have some nice watercolors of the Caribbean and the Pacific coast - with actual sand, which sticks to gouache nicely, for the beach.
Great idea. I'll have to try that.
Very good no-nonsense primer!
You have some cool paintings! nice work.
Nice! Any good artist should be able to mix their own colors, so really the pro paints don't have any advantage

About This Instructable




Bio: I teach computer science and I do graphic design for printed bags, clothing, housewares, and much more. (http://www.BagChemistry.com, http://PaperTownToys.com and ...
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