How to Create Easy Art on Vacation

Published Aug. 20th 2013

When on vacation it’s easy to forget about creating. And that’s often the point right?

Ironically, when we are in a relaxed frame of mind the artwork we create is often so much better. We more readily connect with the creative “flow” when we’re not stressed and rushed. . . but you don’t want to make creating art during your holiday a chore, so my suggestion is to keep it simple and easy.

Take, for example, our recent vacation to the the Outer Banks. I brought along my camera, a sketch book and just a small selection of paint pens.

I didn’t try to photograph the super moon from the Avon Pier (like 50 other photographers were doing) instead I enjoyed the moment and later on during the heat of the day (and nap time!) I sketched my memory of the moment.


The resulting pen and ink drawings carry more significance and weight to me then the same snap shot that 50 other photographs got that evening.

It’s the exact problem that I often see when judging photo competitions. Many times the same (or extremely similar) photographs are submitted. For example: sunsets, flowers, sand dunes, etc. . .

So how do how do you take a perfectly good “snap shot” or photograph of a common subject or location and make it unique?

This is where being relaxed and in the flow comes into play. By relaxing, and being in the moment and not stressing capturing the that perfect sunset, sunrise, moonrise etc. you can make your own unique moment. You can also open up to exploring new techniques and mediums.

On that same trip, during another nap time, I gathered up all the shells from aroudn the house, as well as the ones I’d collected while walking on the beach, and and placed them on the bed’s crisp white sheets


I used the large sliding glass doors and curtains to create soft, diffuse lighting, and just had fun playing with the arrangement of the shells.

I took photos first with my wide angle lenses to get the overall shape of my composition, then, the next day, using the same shells, I explored the texture, interior shapes, and curves of the shells by employing my macro lens.


The resulting photographs do not necessarily capture The Outer Banks of North Carolina specifically, but I think they do something more—they capture the moments and the feeling of the shore in artwork that is at once unique and marketable.

So the next time you’re on vacation, and you want to create something, try this: pick up small items on your walk, or find local landmarks, and just relax into a sketch, or a quick photograph under natural lighting.

Use what’s available, without a specific plan or theme, and allow your location to make that apparent for you. You might end up with something wonderfully simple, and yet so perfect at the same time.

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