Sketching on holidays

Sep 5, 2018news, thoughts2 comments

This year’s holiday seems like a distant memory now that I’m back to work but it was only a few weeks back. Like most years we went to Italy, camping outside Venice, but this year we went all out and managed as well to have a short break ahead in Bologna and Florence (finally got to see Santa Maria del Fiore!! That’s one off the bucket list!!)
I know what some of you are thinking, another person blabbing about their “fantastic holiday” but no dear art lovers this is not a holiday blog. It is as always about art and my love for same. It is about a passion for painting that doesn’t stop on holidays.

I see the looks on my familys faces when I try to fit my sketchbook and bits into an already full suitcase, and even though I think long about it first and think maybe this year I won’t bother, just relax in the sun art always wins. My art Brain convinces the rest of me this is necessary holiday equipment. I have always done it, i always do it. Of course i have refined my set up somewhat over the years. Before my set was far too big and awkward, so bits were inevitably left behind, our worse still I brought to much so stone stuff never left the suitcase and it just traveled on the plane, to the hotel/house and then back to studio!!

Around 2 years ago I decided something had to be done and started thinking about how to compact the most necessary watercolour materials into a small container (I should mention here that I hate those ready made small travel palettes, they never have the colours I need and it takes forever to work out the dried out pans). My set is so small now that there is no excuse not to take it everywhere with me. And I do.

But this year, even though I had the set, plenty of time and opportunity to paint, after a week or so I lost the pleasure in it. Somehow I felt tired with it, when even the thought of doing a sketch left me feeling cold. And when I did force myself to sketch, I wasn’t happy with it. I thought I had lost something. Like a sportsperson off form or writers block the well seemed dry. Eventually I realized that I needed a break. It was a long summer full of me teaching outdoors and painting outdoors, completing commissions and competing at 2 plein air painting festivals. And because we had such fantastic weather I took every opportunity to paint in the open. And in the end I reckon i was exhausted without realizing it.

Having now had a full weeks break without painting (I still do small pencil sketches) I feel I can resume with a fresh and eager mind, full of inspiration and new ideas, the hunger is back!!


P.S. Scroll down to see what I managed to paint!

Venice sketch in my new large sketchbook from Moleskine

Sketches I managed to paint:


  1. Karin Hattenhauer

    I saw your paintings at Art source and liked them very much.
    Do you give any lessons?

    • Katarzyna Kos

      Hi Karin, yes I do give lessons. Usually 8 week course starts at the end of September and then the end of January in Gorey, co. Wexford. In the summer I enjoy teaching one off paint along lessons in Kilmurry Nursery gardens. Also occasional workshops. You can register your interest here: and I will notify you when the next course or workshop is available. Also sorry to miss you today, I’m back tomorrow morning at the stand :)


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