I am off to Italy again returning to my favorite Tuscan hill town, Cortona. I will be teaching a watercolor workshop for ToscanaAmericana in Cortona. Afterward I am traveling by trains to the Amalfi Coast to explore and look for painting sites for a 2012 workshop that Patrick (the owner of ToscanaAmericana) and I are planning.
Since most of the readers of this blog are also artists I thought I would show you my traveling art studio. I am a small person and cannot carry a heavy backpack or lift a full size suitcase onto a train, so I travel light..
Here is my tiny traveling art studio, all of which fits in my Rick Steves backpack with room to spare. The camouflaged thing in the photo is a small folding camp stool in case the perfect view I want to paint does not come with a cafe table. Next to the stool is a clipboard which I place on my lap on top of the towel in the photo. On the clipboard is plastic bag filled with sheets of precut 300 lb watercolor paper. A red bag holds all my brushes and other stuff, my palette is a tiny palette of half pan paints which is handy because the paints are not liquid or gel so I can carry it on to airplanes. My water container has 3 cups which fit inside each other, very handy. In front is my watercolor journal, a spiral bound journal of watercolor paper. I enjoy sketching in ink and adding watercolor if time permits, and also writing about my day in this journal.
You can always spot the American tourists by their huge amounts of luggage. After you have hauled all that luggage up a steep cobblestone street or two you begin to understand why the Europeans travel with small suitcases the size of carry-on bags.
I have learned over the years to travel with only my 22” roller bag that I take as a carry-on along with the backpack. I use those vacuum bags that you put your clothes in then roll up and all the air blows out leaving a very flat package. Wrinkle free clothes are a must when using these bags, but they are huge space savers. I also carry a laundry kit of clothes line, Woolight soap packages and a rubber sink stopper. My computer is a tiny Eeepc the size of a paper back book and my camera is a small Cannon digital. Before leaving the house I weighed my suitcase and learned it is 30 lbs, the backpack with my computer in it weighs 14 lbs. This is as much weight as I want to be hauling onto and off of trains and up and down cobblestone streets of hill towns.