Learning to enjoy the scenery on a detour
Learning to enjoy the scenery on a detour
I remember the moment exactly. I was sitting up in bed enjoying a morning coffee and catching up on social media, when all of a sudden an advertisement leaped out at me! It was like it was written just for me as it ticked every box… Travel! Walking! Gorgeous scenery! Plus….create a travel journal! Using watercolour! I was so excited! I made myself wait until I at least finished the coffee but then I booked the trip. Just like that. Except…..things didn’t work out quite the way I imagined.
The reason this advertisement was so appealing was because I love travel, and I love walking, and I LOVE painting in watercolours. The tour was called ‘Art Walk Italy’ and promoted with fabulous photos of the Cinque Terra and Lake Como. There was going to be lots of walking PLUS an artist would be accompanying us to help us develop a travel journal using watercolours. Woohoo! It was perfect! Well….almost….
Read: ITALY: The Creation of New Memories (story about my trip)
My first clue that the trip wasn’t going to turn out quite as I expected was when I joined the tour group at our initial meeting in Milan, Italy, and the question was asked “What are you hoping to get out of this trip?” I responded enthusiastically, saying that I was hoping to learn more about watercolour including how to capture light, take advantage of the translucence and specifically, to gain more understanding of values. Hmmm….there was a quick segue to the next person. O…K…..
The next clue was when I was considering how to lay out my watercolour journal and tentatively adding some sketches ready for colour …while others in the group were good-naturedly fighting over glue and sticky tape to attach various bits of paper to the pages of their journals. Yep…you got it. 😁 It was more about scrap-booking than learning the technical skills of watercolour.
Don’t get me wrong….I did expect to be creating a travel journal and I loved the idea of using watercolour to create a record of my travel experience. What I wasn’t expecting though, was that it was more about collecting memorabilia and attaching them into a book …with quick watercolour sketches being a somewhat ‘secondary’ priority and even a form of decoration.
This post is not about assigning blame though. There were issues with the marketing material but I also didn’t do enough research to make sure it met my expectations….so things took a sudden turn.
“A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour. “Unknown
True, it was quite a detour (and an expensive one) but sometimes when things don’t go the way you expect, there can still be positive outcomes…. sometimes more than you originally imagined. It was amazing to be in beautiful areas such as Portofino, Lake Como and Cinque Terra, and the colours of northern Italy certainly inspired me to draw and paint.
While the art tutor was not a trained watercolourist, she did demonstrate some quick techniques which I found useful because I am way too finicky with my work and I always tend to overdo a painting…overdo it to the point where I’ve completely spoiled it!
She showed me how I could put some colour down on the paper and, with a pen, turn it into buildings or a skyline.
I live in a regional area of Australia where I can’t access art classes, and I am completely self taught using Facebook groups and YouTube. This passion began as a form of art therapy after my husband died, as I experienced ‘flow‘ i.e. time passes while you are engaged in the present. This is valuable when grieving as living in the past can bring on depression and worrying about the future can lead to anxiety. Staying completely connected with the present is a form of mindfulness and was/is very good for me.
After the tour ended and I still had 4 days to go before heading home so I was determined to make the most of being in a beautiful place on the other side of the world. I spent every day taking photos of scenery with amazing light and dramatic shadows….and every evening in my hotel room, gaining more confidence while trying out new ways of painting. I took all the mini-bar items off the desk and stacked them on the floor, making way for all my art materials (not sure what the cleaning staff thought!)
So….what did I actually learn from the watercolour art tour…the one that wasn’t? 😊
So…all good, and I certainly enjoyed the scenery on this detour! The idea of combining art and travel is still a good one but next time I will be doing a lot more research to ensure that it is what I expect.
In the meantime, I have been moving furniture around as I have decided that I don’t need the second TV room. I mean, now that I am a widow I live alone, so how many televisions can I watch at the same time! 😉
Have you had any experiences where you were forced to take a detour…but it turned out to be a good experience? Pop a comment into the box below as I’d love to hear about it.
Marlene is an Australian widow who has written about all the good, bad and ugly stuff that happened after her husband Norbert died tragically. Marlene responds to all comments.