Category Archives: Personal Travel

Costa Rica Watercolor Painting

Hello! I have a new painting to share with you. It was a gift for my husband’s birthday this weekend, and now that he has unwrapped it, I can share it with you!

costaricafirst

I chose a viewpoint from a restaurant we visited on the road. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant (or even where we were, exactly) but the restaurant had a huge, wooden porch with this view surrounding it. I usually prefer to sketch lightly in pencil first, but I didn’t think this would work well for this painting. Pencil tends to bleed into light watercolor washes, and it can ruin the color work. So I took a risk and lightly painted the outline in light green, because I needed to have some basic idea of where all of the foliage would go. The view was panoramic, and the horizontal orientation of the painting was not exactly the right dimensions for the picture, so I had to change some elements.

halffinished

I started adding in more details from right to left. It was especially difficult painting in the high contrasts of light and dark. Dark shadows in watercolor tend to look muddy, and it’s never easy for me to figure out the right balance for them.

costarica2

For all of the intense labor I put into the landscape, I was so exhausted by the time I got to the sky, that I painted it as loosely as possible. The irony of course, is that I think the sky looks the best! I always find that the less I “care” about how I’m painting, the better it turns out. It is not easy to kick back and just paint “carelessly,” because there is a certain level of unconscious focus that needs to occur. I can’t explain it, and people have various names for it, like “in the zone,” “meditation,” “in flow,” etc. I prefer to say “unconscious focus.”

costarica1

Now that I’m looking at it, I see how compressed the landscape looks. It’s more exaggerated than I thought it would be, but that is not necessarily bad. It has a lusciousness to it, I suppose, even though now I’m looking at all of the flaws. It’s always difficult for me to say “it’s done!” but this one is done!

-A.

Australia Watercolors

Hi all. I’m resurrecting a project from my past – some watercolor paintings inspired by my honeymoon in Australia. I finished one, but not quite the other. You can probably guess which on is incomplete!

malandapainting

This is a painting of the farmland of Malanda. It was one of our favorite spots. Completely beautiful and idyllic, with rolling hills, lush greenery, and plenty of cows.

australianriverpainting

Yes, this is the incomplete one! This was a riverbed in Queensland, on a hiking trail we visited. It had a particularly blue-green color to the water, and the rocks with smooth and white with deep gray shadows. It was quite secluded, except for the flies.

I may or may not finish the second painting…I’m busy working on a birthday watercolor for someone special’s birthday!

-A.

My Holiday Card 2013

Happy holidays! Our holiday card this year is, of course, travel-themed. My husband wanted to incorporate our new home (Mt. Vernon) into our card to share with our family and friends. I decided to draw a line drawing of the Mt. Vernon monument, and only add color to the holiday string lights that are added every December. A simple hand lettered salutation at the bottom finishes the design.

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holidaycard_closecard

holidaycard_closeupside

holidaycard_otherangle

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I also chose to use a festive red ink for the envelope calligraphy. I’m really happy with the result and I am looking forward to designing more travel themed works.

Happy travels,

– A.K.

My Workspace

I thought I would give all of you a little peek into my workspace…because, of course, it’s travel-themed. I have been collecting postcards since high school, and I have a few snapshots of my travels too. I also have a tea towel from Ireland pinned up. I apologize for any blurriness, it’s fairly dark in my corner.

I also have some pictures from my wedding and honeymoon. There are a few graphic designer-y things too. I like to create a space with lots of little pieces of happiness to look at. It’s always fun to recall where you picked up a postcard, or shot a particular photo. I hope to amass a collection of postcards and travel photos, so that I can really create some interesting travel-inspired art!

My desk.

My desk.

Left side of desk, including postcards from Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Scotland, Grand Caiman, Jamaica, and Hawaii.

Left side, including postcards from Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Scotland, Grand Caiman, Jamaica, and Hawaii.

Right side, including postcards and photos from England, Hawaii, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, and St. Louis.

Right side, including postcards and photos from England, Hawaii, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, and St. Louis.

Closeup of Hawaii and Scotland cards.

Closeup of Hawaii and Scotland cards.

Some South Pacific and Europeans cards.

Some South Pacific and Europeans cards.

Close up of my Irish tea towel.

Close up of my Irish tea towel.

Jamaica and Grand Caiman - visited there when I was 18.

Jamaica and Grand Caiman – visited there when I was 18.