As a professional artist with a 10 year old daughter, I often end up replacing my early morning and late afternoon painting time with other, more pressing, “mom” duties.
To make up for it, every year for the past four years I’ve traveled to Bermuda for a four-day painting trip without the family. It’s a block of time that I can spend painting from morning to night without interruption, all by myself.
Bermuda works for me because it takes very little time and effort to make the trip, and—in less than two hours—I can go from cold and dismal to warm and exotic! Also, Bermuda is extremely easy to get around in, and everyone there is amazingly friendly.
I usually go during the off-season, during Bermuda’s rainy season. Not knowing for sure what the weather will be like is tricky, but I have been lucky so far. It’s never been too hot to paint, which is nice, but the wind can really work against you there, so packing a wind-breaker is a must!
The temperature varies remarkably, too—on one trip, my first day started out cold and rainy, then cleared up into a windstorm in the afternoon (it was so windy, in fact, that my tripod broke). After that, it got pretty hot, so you really have to be prepared for all types of weather!
Wearing summer clothes, but bringing a warm fleece and a windbreaker, has been my salvation through every situation that mother nature had up her sleeve.
Where I stay
During my time there, because it is off-season, I can stay in some pretty nice places that are still affordable on an artist’s budget. The first place I stayed in Bermuda was The Granaway, a large house built in 1734 overlooking “Granaway Deep.”
“Granaway Deep” was a gathering place for pirates in the 18th and 19th centuries, so the house I stayed at (as well as several other stately waterfront homes) had once been used as storerooms for pirate treasure.
The first thing I did when I got there was to start painting in the back yard. I couldn’t believe it when my gracious host Michael Ashton came out with an elegant tea service to welcome me! I was blown away. He and his wife Carol took very good care of me while I was there.
Even though I arrived at the Granaway at 1:00 in the afternoon, I still managed to complete three paintings that day. For my final painting, I ran across the street to catch the stunning sunset. There were two people sipping wine on holiday (I think they must have thought I was crazy) but that painting turned out to be one of my favorites.
Each time I have gone to Bermuda there have been special moments. The second time I went, I stayed in an equally elegant home that was next door to the house that Winslow Homer painted. I felt as if I were on hallowed ground since Homer is one of my favorite painters.
What I take
On every trip I fill my carry-on bag with my Guerilla Box which can carry three wet panels, a tripod, and my brushes. I also include a roll of paper towels.
Inside my checked luggage I have a coffee can holding my paint tubes, a small bottle of turpenoid that is non-explosive, and my palette knife. I also take my wet paint carrier that will hold 10 wet paint panels. (I guard this with my life on my way home!)
Each time I’ve set a goal to bring home 10-12 paintings, and so far I’ve always managed to complete my goal. Are all the paintings great? Not always.
But I always DO come home back with an amazing feeling of accomplishment and serenity that enables me to pick up right where I left off. . . nourishing my family and continuing on my quest to become a better artist.