The pros and cons of travelling light

A few weeks ago I wrote about deciding not to pack my travel easel when I left for Costa Rica. That was definitely the right decision because it would have been an encumbrance on the long walk down (and back up again) to the beach where I painted most days. Instead I carried in my backpack a few quarter-sheets of watercolour paper taped to a plexiglass backing board, along with my travel palette, some pencils and brushes and my water container. Often I sat on a towel in the sand with my plexi propped up at an angle on beach debris (rocks, coconuts, logs), my palette and water next to me. The disadvantage of the setup was that I often had dirt in my palette from people walking nearby and kicking up sand. And the worst was when a dog came over to say hello and stepped into the cerulean blue paint. This was sketched on one of the few overcast afternoons on Playa Beisanz. With some dark clouds approaching I painted quickly and carried my painting home upside down, with the plexi protecting the wet sheet from the rain.


38 Comments on “The pros and cons of travelling light”

  1. TR Duncan says:

    Thank you for the explanation of what you are using this trip… I like the idea of plexi held in place with sand or local stones. Love the Costa Rics colours! looking forward to more!


  2. Deborah Tucker says:

    Love these sketches! Was in northern Costa Rica last March, but these amazing sketches so make me want to go back!


  3. Jane Hannah says:

    This is quite a beautiful scene Shari — the clouds, sea and general composition are perfect. Thank you for sharing this info…


  4. Tony says:

    Lovely painting Shari. Lopez Island and Tom Hoffman come to mind? Best, Tony


    • Thanks Tony. You’re right. I find that a lot of what I learned with Tom was starting to gel on this trip. Especially when I was painting those distant headlands, something he does so well and so often.


  5. Carlos says:

    What is the thickness of the plexi that you use?
    you did great with the bright colors…


  6. Dee says:

    Love the dry brush on the water…this is simple a sweet! I like it very much!


  7. Annie MacMurray says:

    Years ago while painting on a beach a young girl watched me for some time. When I went in for a swim I came back to find the little girl had dumped handfuls of sand into my palette ruining all the paints.


  8. Sandi says:

    Serene. Thankyou.


  9. Ross says:

    That is great… love those more subtle colours… worth waiting for the scanned image.


  10. Sue says:

    Lovely painting, Shari, but what I really love are your comments. We get to go along, and I can just see that dog approaching, and probably some scrambling going on as you realized he was getting way too close. Thanks so much. It’s fun to be an armchair traveller/painter.


  11. Linda says:

    What a delightful painting, Shari! I love everything about this sketch, especially the sky and clouds. I feel like I am there. The water with the rocks poking up, it is one of my favorites. Thank you.


  12. I just want to jump into that water!


  13. Sandi says:

    This blog puts happiness into my day. And I’m also happy because I sent this post onto a friend and they are so impressed they have subscribed. Passing on happiness is great. Thankyou


  14. stacey says:

    i love this trip of yours. the colors are so vivid and it feels like I’m there with you. thanks!


  15. tmikeporter says:

    Great sky! Ron Ranson would approve.


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