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Scenario #2: The Family Holiday or Cottage Trip

Your Summer Art Guide. Scenario 2: Making Art on Your Family Holiday or Cottage Trip. At ohshepaints.com
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Welcome to Part II of Your Summer Art Guide!

We’ve been exploring how to nourish your art practice this summer, creating and enjoying art wherever you’ll be. Holidays can be a great opportunity for exploring other aspects of your art practice outside the studio. Today we’re going to explore another potential travel scenario. If you’re lucky, perhaps you’re planning to spend your summer vacation at a family cottage by the lake or a friend’s cabin in the woods. Maybe you’re going to visit your parents’ house in the countryside or rent a place in some lovely village with orchards and gardens. Many of the impressionists had homes in the country where they went to escape the city, paint, and enjoy the company of friends and family. If you have some lazy summer days ahead, read on.

Scenario #2: Family holiday or cottage trip

Travel style: Car or plane. Since you won’t be moving around too much, you can bring a bit more stuff.

Luggage: A suitcase, presumably. Possibly you have a space in the trunk of a car.

Your focus will be on keeping a sketchbook journal (see Scenario #1: The Overseas Dream Trip), painting and drawing your surroundings (which will be discussed in detail below), and plein air painting (which will be covered in Scenario #3).

Your challenge will be carving out time to make art. Family vacations can be pretty packed with activities. One strategy is to find a little time to yourself. Try to get up early to paint for a few hours in the morning, bring your sketching materials to the beach, or use a solo hike as an opportunity to draw.

Another strategy, which I highly recommend, is to use your family and friends as subject matter. Capture them sitting in a garden, playing on the beach or in the waves, having a picnic, or sipping a cup of coffee. Many famous artists, including Mary Cassatt and Claude Monet, used their family members as models. Involving your family and friends will make your art-making fun and social, an integral part of your visit with them. There are countless ways to do this: make a game of it, offer to give a lesson to younger kids, or challenge your friends to try their hand at sketching. If they are going to be still for awhile – for instance, reading a book or lounging in a hammock – ask if you can sketch or paint them. This is a chance for you to share what you love with the people you love.

Mary Cassatt's "The Boating Party" of 1893-94
Mary Cassatt used (mostly female) relatives in her paintings, such as “The Boating Party” of 1893-94
Mary Cassatt's female figures occupy her painting "Summertime" of 1894
Mary Cassatt’s female figures occupy her painting “Summertime” of 1894
In John Singer Sargent's painting "Lily Lily Rose" (1885-86) the children of family friends light the garden lamps
In John Singer Sargent’s painting “Lily Lily Rose” (1885-86) the children of family friends light the garden lamps
John Singer Sargent "Garden Study of the Vickers Children" (1884)
John Singer Sargent “Garden Study of the Vickers Children” (1884)
John Singer Sargent "Fountain with Girl Sketching" (1913)
You can even do a sketch of your friend or family member sketching, like in Sargent’s watercolor sketch of a girl drawing “Fountain with Girl Sketching” (1913)

Subject Matter

While you may choose to do plein air paintings of the landscape, you’ll have a wide array of subjects at your disposal. You may want to focus on figurative work, painting people in a variety of settings. You may be attracted to beautiful flower and vegetable gardens, fruit trees, or shrubbery and the dappled shadows they cast. Cottages and cabins also provide great opportunities for lovely interiors with or without people in them or views from windows and doors looking out into gardens. If you’re by the beach you could turn your attention to seascapes or sand dunes.

Henri Matisse plays with the interior/exterior divide in his 1905 painting "Open Window, Collioure"
Henri Matisse plays with the interior/exterior divide in his 1905 painting “Open Window, Collioure”
Matisse's paintings usually deal with inhabited spaces, as in this one "The Terrace, St. Tropez " (1904)
Matisse’s paintings usually deal with inhabited spaces, as in this one “The Terrace, St. Tropez ” (1904)
William Merritt Chase captures a garden scene in his painting "Open Air Breakfast" of 1888
William Merritt Chase captures a domestic garden scene in his painting “Open Air Breakfast” of 1888
Gustav Klimt, "Garden of Flowers" (1917)
I love this gorgeous abundant garden scene. Gustav Klimt, “Garden of Flowers” (1917).
Another gorgeous garden scene by Joaquín Sorolla "Geraniums" 1918-19
Another gorgeous garden scene by Joaquín Sorolla “Geraniums” 1918-19
A wonderful ink sketch by Van Gogh "Weeping Tree in the Grass"
A wonderful ink sketch by Van Gogh “Weeping Tree in the Grass”
Van Gogh's "Farm Cottage" (1890)
Van Gogh’s “Farm Cottage” (1890)

Materials

Use the same sketching materials as in Scenario #1: watercolor paints, pencils, pens, ink brushes, ink, even pigment markers. If you are going to be away for a longer period of time or in one place for awhile, consider bringing your painting supplies (see Scenario #3, coming soon).

Make sure that you take lots of great photos and do a number of sketches to use as reference material for future paintings.

You may want to check out my Pinterest collections “The Garden in Art” and “Interiors in Painting” for inspiration.

[pin_board url=”http://www.pinterest.com/ohshepaints/the-garden-in-art/” size=”custom” image_width=”100″ board_width=”600″ board_height=”280″]

[pin_board url=”http://www.pinterest.com/ohshepaints/interiors-in-painting/” size=”custom” image_width=”100″ board_width=”600″ board_height=”280″]

I hope that this has inspired you to keep up your art practice this summer. Have a great holiday!

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4 Replies to “Scenario #2: The Family Holiday or Cottage Trip”

  1. I’d love to see a beach scenario !!

    1. Sure! I’ve got one in the making!

  2. ILOVE this post!!!!

    1. Thanks Jen!!

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