A world without the simple creativity that is art would be a sad one indeed. When I was a kid, one of my favourite hobbies was to collect images of animals (from as unlikely sources as collectible cards that could for a while be found at the bottom of Weet-Bix packets) and find scenes around my house in which to superimpose them, creating, for example, a sketch of a chimpanzee sitting on my front verandah. It wasn’t until I got to high school that I realised this wasn’t the sort of thing everyone did in their spare time. Luckily, I had some great teachers who took it upon themselves to nurture my passion for art and prevent me from losing interest as I got older. So, just as art was something I just did when I was younger, it is something that I will always just do as I get older.
In recent years my art has taken a backseat behind my work and travel endeavours, so my artistic efforts have mostly been restricted to designing artworks that I might one day create, rather than actually making them. In years to come I will be doing my best to turn such designs into reality and thus venture further along the paint-splattered path I have always been on. While I primarily enjoy creating art for private purposes (as a way to get my thoughts and ideas out of my head and expressed in a physical form), my ultimate goal is to use art to stir up thoughts and emotions in other people such that they are encouraged to think more about what it means to live on this planet at this point in time. One day it would be nice to open a gallery.
A downside to my current cycling adventure is that it limits the amount of time I can dedicate to these artistic goals. On the other hand, an upside is that I have a rear pannier with just enough room for a sketch pad and bundle of drawing supplies, so no matter where I find myself I can still study the world around me through art. I love travel sketching because it gives me a book of holiday images that is more interesting to look at than a photo album. More than this, I love it because it has an unrivalled ability to instil great memories in my mind. The most vivid memories I have of my travels come from those moments I found a place to sit quietly for a few hours and transfer my view onto a blank page of my notebook. For example, when I think back to the time I sat down to draw the tower in Siena’s Il Campo, I remember much more than the sore bum I had afterwards.
I remember the excited screams of little kids as they chased terrified pigeons across the plaza. I remember the loved-up couple sitting nearby, swapping quick kisses as they enjoyed their romantic Italian getaway. I remember the funny pranks of a Spanish school group as they avoided being rounded up by their teachers. I remember the frustrating speed at which the clouds flew across the sky, casting ever-changing shadows across the tower I was trying to draw. And I remember the taste of the enormous triple-scoop gelato to which I treated myself when I had finished. While providing nice memories of the places I visit, sitting quietly with a notebook and pencils is a great way to meet people. I constantly have people approaching to see what I am doing, often resulting in some great conversations that offer unique insight into the place I am in and the lives I am observing.
My art supplies on the bike include drawing and watercolour paper, a basic watercolour set (Koh-I-Nor 12-colour disc set), a selection of basic brushes (Westart Synthetic), 0.1 and 0.2 black tip pens (Artline Drawing System), a 0.6 black felt pen (Artline 210 Medium), a coloured pencil set (Faber Castell Albrecht Durer 24 Piece) and graphite pencils (I use 3B Faber Castell Goldfaber’s for my black and white pencil sketches). You can view my drawings on my Sketches page.
So how can you keep track of the journey? Read more.