Travelling and the Creative Process

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Travelling and the Creative Process

Travelling and the creative process can be both a blessing and a curse. As an artist who has been travelling as much as she can, I have often been asked how it affects the creative process for me.

As for an answer, I think my first sentence sums it up pretty well-it can be good and bad. Speaking only for myself, art and travel are two personal loves, so I figure it out as I go.

To expand on that

It’s a blessing that travel brings new experiences, people, views and scenery into our lives. Different culture, food, and waking up in a new place force you to look at each day as an adventure. It opens up your mind. Personally, I like to start each day with coffee—lots of it (lol)—but where and how I enjoy it changes depending on the locale.

Again, perhaps it’s just me, but I find when I am on the go, and somewhere new, I do not take my surroundings for granted. I try to take everything in—every detail—every shadow—–every moment–every nuance. And that is great for my creative process.


What’s bad is that depending on your medium you work in for creative expression, having physical materials on hand can be a challenge. You may have a burning desire to paint a beautiful scene but have no paint or canvas readily at hand—or it’s too crowded to set up an easel—or maybe that cliff you are standing on just isn’t easy to get to, let alone schlep materials to.

My solution is a camera. And I have always had one in hand even before phones made everyone a photographer. Notes, kept on a notepad, or by many, in their phones, of the color variances and other aspects not quite caught by the camera can be invaluable. If you are able to keep a small sketch pad and some color pencils or even a small portable paint pallet (I have a wonderful one by Winsor & Newton I bought in Spain, but I have seen them in Arts Stores in the US as well) , you will find this invaluable for capturing the mood and that “aha” moment when you have just found your next composition.  

Travelling “light”

That being said, travelling “light” is always better in my opinion, than dragging a ton of needless supplies along when you are on the go. The point is to see and experience as much as you can. You may hear from some “you get a better view from the shows on TV” and yes, there are some great documentaries and programs to see places. But to really be there, to experience a place, is almost hard to describe sometimes. You can look at hundreds of pictures of say, the Grand Canyon. But until you see it with your own eyes and take it all in—experience it first hand—that experience can be both life changing and a lit fuse for your creativity.

To translate that experience into your creative process can be challenging. Sometimes what seemed incredible to you on the spot doesn’t quite translate well into your medium. Sometimes it’s the technical aspect of creating, which can be overcome. Sometimes the image or feeling loses its punch when you try and share it with others through your work.  Giving it time can hurt or help. If the idea keeps coming back to you, do not give up! It is meant to be shared!

I hope if you’ve taken the time to read this, you’ll be packing up a few supplies or at least a camera and setting off on a trip. Any trip. Just change it up and see what happens!

And no travel is complete without completely labeling your bags to be easily identified–be sure to check out our “bag tags” at or on our Etsy Store (Turtlelady Art). Thanks! We would love to be going with you!