Painting on the Road, The Great Ocean Road

Being a backpacker, albeit a terrible one, means that I have or am supposed to have a limited amount of stuff in my backpack and everything deemed essential.
I’m not sure peelable masking fluid is seen as essential.

In fact, every packing list I’ve ever seen from a backpacker or even travel blog does not usually include the same art supplies I would carry.  Camera supplies maybe if you’re into travel photography but I’ve never heard of anyone packing an easel.
Maybe I’m not looking hard enough.

The materials I carry include;

  • Two small solid watercolour pans,
  • A huge 100 sheets of A4 watercolour pad of 200gsm paper from Winslow The Paper House,
  • A large set of Faber Castell watercolour crayons,
  • An assortment of paintbrushes held together with a rubber band,
  • A butt load of inking pens that I hardly ever use,
  • A few mechanical and normal pencils,
  • 3 or 4 or 5 notebooks,
  • My cartoon notebook,
  • Coloured pens and marker pens,
  • Bits and bobs like ink, sharpeners, different kinds of rubbers, ruler and cotton pads etc.


I used to carry around some Copic markers that I never used too until I put a stop to the delusion I was going to use them and left them at home.

Usually, I have a tremendous amount of guilt in creating art on the road/whilst travelling unless I have set aside a day to do just that.  For example, if everyone else has decided to spend a day relaxing on the beach, and I mean relaxing as in sleeping/sunbathing or reading then I allow myself a few hours of painting or drawing.  Anything else and I feel I’m not taking advantage of seeing the sights, being active or being sociable and THEN I feel guilty.
I still have to get over this guilt.  It’s not as strong now if I need time off I take it, I’m more proactive in that but still feel the guilt.

The driving force that led me to paint this time during my mini adventure around the Great Ocean Road (aside from really wanting to) was that huge 100 page 200gsm pad of watercolour paper!  It’s far too big and heavy to carry!  My bag is already over the weight allowance! Not to mention my backpack has grown into a suitcase over 2017.  I need to ditch the suitcase and fit into a backpack again!  So, what better way to get rid of paper than to use it!

My subject matter; the jellyfish.


Here I was going to explain why the jellyfish?  But the only thing I can come up with is why not?
I painted one a while ago whilst sat outside my motel room bored waiting for Sean to come back from wherever and fell in love with the shapes, the lines and the colours I could use.  It’s mainly about the colours for me.
This time I aimed to get as many combinations as I could muster.

I set up at the end of the day after a gorgeous drive along the GOR, we found a small caravan park in a lesser known village and the owners gave us the nicest parking spot they had, overlooking the sea.
Sean went climbing over some rocks and spot some seals and I got the camp chairs and the table out and painted until the sun went down.


I’m getting much more confident and content with saying no to certain experiences so I can allow myself the time to paint. It sounds odd as someone who loves to travel to pass up the opportunity to do or see something, but half of my heart belongs to creating art and over the years I’ve neglected that.

I’m much happier knowing that whilst Sean was wandering off down the rocks to go look at the seals I’d got paint everywhere.  Even now, the other day Sean ventured off to Arthur’s Pass, I stayed at home and finished reading a book I’d had for months.

You would think that art and travel would play a little bit nicer together in my mind.  I mean I love them both but they just seem to both be so demanding of my time.  I mean they both represent freedom but both require copious amounts of attention.

People also expect that when you combine the words ‘art’ and ‘travel’ that you paint scenery.  I don’t paint scenery.  Not that much.  Not yet.  It’s not my forte.  And you don’t need to paint scenery to be a travelling artist Have fun! Draw/paint/craft whatever you want with whatever you can carry!   I might start painting scenery.  I have a few ideas but I’ll do it because I want to.  And it definitely won’t be accurate representations of where I’ve been or where I am in a traditional sense.  I did study CONTEMPORARY fine art after all.


P.s  I’d love to know others that create things on the road and how you manage! Feel free to comment. XoXo



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