When I was at college and even uni, I used to find it really difficult to get inspiration. I could sit for hours thinking and never come up with anything! Since I've stopped looking for it, it just seems to find me. I see things when I'm out walking with the dog and just love the colour or the texture, like this fern, I just think it's beautiful the way it coils itself away when it's dark and cold and then as the sun appears, it rolls itself back out again!
I see all sorts of things on holiday which give me ideas. Not necessarily ideas related directly to what I've seen either. Just being on holiday makes me feel more inspired. It's probably because I'm more relaxed and can clear my mind of work, home, family friends etc. All I have to think about is where I am in the world and what amazing things are around me that I've never seen before and may well never see again anywhere else in the world. I love to see the flora and fauna of the world, everywhere you go, there are things that are indigenous to that particular area and the locals probably don't even think twice about, but to me, they are incredible. Like the Bread Tree in Hawaii! What on earth? Like the spewing volcano we saw on our honeymoon, like riding an elephant in Thailand, like the lights of Times Square, like the sheer enormity of Beijing, like the thermal springs in Iceland, like the beauty of the language in Italy. It's nature, the way the world works, the way things just are, without any thought and without any effort but they continue to take my breath away each and every time. All of these things make me want to draw, paint sew, write. I can't get enough!
Last year, I started keeping a travel journal (I wish I'd done it sooner). The idea was to record my honeymoon in Hawaii and New York but I have carried it on since. It has become not only my journal but also something to read while I'm on holiday. I go back and read about my previous holidays and happily remember the little details I'd forgotten all about but which made my holiday so enjoyable. I keep tickets, unusual wrappers, photos and drawings in there.
On my recent holiday in Sardinia, I also started keeping a travel sketch book. I took the tiniest little set of watercolours you have ever seen, a pencil, a rubber, a black ink pen and an A5 sketch book and just kept them in my beach bag. I found that I really enjoyed just sitting somewhere and painting whatever could see. I will definitely be bringing it with me on all of my holidays.