Studio Musings

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Protection from Being Bored

I love to travel, but I hate the boredom that comes from long waits in uncomfortable airport seats or long plane flights.  In self-defense, I pack a bag of supplies as 'protection against being bored'.  Art supplies are always high on my list of 'must brings', but they can be both heavy and cumbersome.  And tubes paints are pretty much verbotten if you're doing carry-on these days.

My ongoing quest has been to find the lightest, smallest, most useful supplies and in the past couple of trips, I believe I may have finally perfected my selection. 

I packed my beading kit with supplies for two different projects:  finishing the beaded back of a cabochon setting, and experimenting with ideas for the Bead Soup challenge.  The beading cloth fits an airplane tray table almost perfectly. As long as I have day light, I can get a fair bit of beading done.

If I'd remembered my camera to take process photos, I could have easily finished the cabochon back, but I didn't.  Sigh. My camera will likely come with me in the future. I'd left it behind figuring I could use my iPhone to take vacation pictures.  It's is great for a lot of things, but not macro photographs.

 And of course, I needed a sketchbook and some drawing materials.  In the past I've been known to bring 2-3 sketchbooks of varying sizes.  This time, I ran with only a little moleskin (same as my Alaska trip).  The paper is thin and bleeds through, so I only use every other 2-page spread, but that still gives plenty of drawing space for a one-to-two week trip.  Add a drawing pen, an home-made watercolor box and a water brush, and you have a complete kit that fits in a largish pocket and can be used anywhere. I've painted on planes, standing in line, on the beach and any number of other odd places. 

Housed in an Altoid tin, I filled 24 empty half-pans with my favorite water colors attached to two layers of heavy cardstock with double-sided tape.  The top layer lifts out and can sit in the lid (which can also serve as a mixing tray) or any flat surface.  Add in a small napkin or tissue for cleaning the brush so you don't have to use your clothing and you're good to go. 

This particular trip was to Disney World resort, where I met my folks, brother and his two kids for a week of park hopping.

My drawing set came in very handy protecting both my 5 year old niece and my 9 year old nephew from incipient boredom while waiting for the buses to take us to and from the parks. 

I love Emme's six-legged unicorn and her snowman with its rainbow dress (I was informed it was a dress, not a cloak).  Sam focused on planes with rocket propulsion and massive guns.  Notice that both proudly signed their work.

So what are your favorite art supplies/kits for traveling?


  1. I love catching honest expressions of art from children. They see things from such a different perspective. I love your solutions to boredom. And, I'm so glad you can pack a tissue to clean the brush, cause the mom in me was horrified at the "using your clothes" comment. :)

  2. Yeah, any artwork my niece and nephews create in my books, I get to keep. I'll send them copies, but the originals are mine! A cleverly devised plot on my part.

    As for the clothing, my mom's right there with you. Turns out many watercolors stain fabric. And a surprising number show up even on black. Oops! ;-)

    Luckily napkins take up next to no space.