Bridget Gleeson writer + illustrator

Traveling watercolors: a year in review

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Last Christmas, I received a travel watercolor set. In 2015 I took it to Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, the Grand Canyon, California, Spain, and Nicaragua.

I tried to paint something everywhere I went. I’m not an artist – I know I’m not a very good painter – and that fact took the pressure off. I just needed a new hobby, a new way of looking at things. I needed an excuse to get off my iPhone and my MacBook. I wanted to actually look at things in real life instead of staring at them on a screen.

What I learned this year in trying to paint trees, castles, vegetable stands, houses, and beaches: you don’t have to be great at something to find fulfillment in it. (Did I mention I’m also a mediocre pianist and an average skiier?) Trying something new was refreshing. And other people noticed the effort. I walked into a party in Buenos Aires and someone I’d never met before said to me, “hey, are you the girl who paints trees and takes pictures of them?” Yes, I am, I thought. I was embarrassed for a second, and then I wasn’t.

Here, looking back at a dozen postcards – my twelve favorites out of the little paintings I made on the road this year – one for each month of the year.

























cities that matter

Many of these are from Buenos Aires. That’s the other lesson I took from this: you can go all the way to Basque Country or Cozumel or the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to find beautiful views, or you can take a moment to really look at the streets you walk down every day. So: here’s to developing new interests. Happy New Year!