How my travels to the Maldives have influenced and inspired my latest artworks
By the beginning of January I traveled to one of my favourite places again: The Maldives! This vacation was so overdue after a year filled with lots of big projects and hard work. I felt quite exhausted over the Christmas holidays.
January is indeed the perfect tropical vacation month in my opinion, as I'm always starting to get annoyed by the german winter after the Christmas mood is gone!
I love leaving the cold during that time and recharging my batteries. Once I return, there are only a couple more weeks left until the weather gets nicer and spring is starting.
WHY I LOVE THE MALDIVES AS A DESTINATION
It's simple: You go on a vacation for a week and feel like you're coming from a three weeks vacation. I'm a hard worker and every hour or day I don't spend creating something new, feels like wasted time. Don't get me wrong, I'm a totally relaxed and calm person, but I really like to make the most out of the free time I've got! So while being on Maldives, you are forced to relax and do NOTHING. And that's exactly what I love and need during this time of the year.
PAINTING AT THE BEACH
The first couple of days I usually tend to do nothing. Sometimes I'm so in vacation mode, that I don't even feel like painting or reading or doing anything. I just enjoy the warmth of the sun, spend some time relaxing in the water or get some sleep.
After that I feel already super relaxed and I start to enjoy some sketching early in the mornings while almost nobody is at the beach. Painting with such a beautiful view is so relaxing. I mostly love the fact, that I can draw without thinking or planning anything. I'm just drawing for myself, which is rarely the case these days! And if I don't feel like drawing anymore, I can stop at any time.
MY ARTIST TRAVEL KIT
I usually bring my mini watercolour set from Winsor & Newton. It comes with only 12 watercolours and a small brush. It's perfect for a short trip, as it includes all colours you need to mix any other color! Sometimes I also bring an extra palette to have enough space for different mixed colours. I also bring brushes with water-tanks. My sketchbook is not really a special watercolour-paper sketchbook, but if I don't use too much water, it would work anyway! Also, I bring regular stuff such as a eraser, pencil, sharpener and only a few coloured pencils. I also tend to use paper in small sizes. On this trip I only used Din A5 sheets.
HOW TO GET INSPIRED ON A VACATION TRIP
For me it's super easy to get lots of inspiration from those kinds of trips. I don't really have art blocks, only sometimes maybe a bad art day. But those kinds of trips bring a fresh breeze of inspiration to my mind. Usually when I visit different countries, I love looking at the local people. Characters have always interested me way more than environments and I love to capture that personality different cultures and people come with! It's hard to get inspired by locals when being on a Maldivian island, as you don't really see the real life these people live outside of their jobs. I rarely saw any Maldivian women as mostly men work at the hotels.
As an artist I feel like I look different at certain things... probably we try to see every little detail to be able to reproduce it in our artworks. Looking at details such as the hair structure of Maldivian people compared to other countries is something super interesting to me! Things like the way locals dress, put up their hair into a cool bun, how they behave and what kinds of skin colours they have are so inspiring and helpful to create characters I haven't created before. I should probably stay at a local island instead of a hotel island next time.
A WHOLE NEW WORLD BENEATH THE SURFACE
The most inspiring and fascinating part during every Maldives trip is snorkeling and scuba diving! I literally can't get enough of that! The under-water world is something that I always loved and wanted to explore. Last year I went scuba diving and couldn't get enough of it. I've seen so many sharks, manta-rays, fishes, turtles and more than you can imagine. This literally made my vacation.
This year I spent again so much time snorkeling around the reef. I brought my iPhone and a special under-water case to make some nice clips underwater. I posted a couple of these in my Instagram Stories and saved them in the Story Highlights. Seeing all those beautiful coloured fishes and corals is beyond amazing! I felt totally overwhelmed with inspiration to create new art.
Most of my art is mermaid art anyway, so this was the perfect inspiration source!!! Seeing how fishes behave and how they actually stay "home" was kind of nice. I've seen some fishes a couple times as they don't really leave the reef. The Maldives got lots of Clownfish, Butterly-fish, Lion-fish, Banner-fish Parrot-fish, Trigger-fish and many many more! Those colours are amazing. I've been snorkeling in many countries, but except for Egypt, nothing has been like here!
This is only what you see during snorkeling. When going deeper, you'll be able to see shoals everywhere. Honestly, I really spend most of my time underwater as I can't get enough of this colorful world!
INSPIRATIONAL TRIP FOR MY CHILDREN'S BOOK
This trip was actually perfect in terms of collecting references for my own children's book. I'm actually starting a big project soon as I always wanted to write my own children's book. My head is full of ideas and I already have like 3 different story ideas including concept art in mind. I'm mostly known through my mermaid art, so I thought it would be great to do a mermaid story!
Right after I came back home I started painting these quick artworks. I call them speed-paintings, as they take between 20 and 60 minutes each. I tried different color schemes. From soft colours as seen in the black tip reef shark artwork to very saturated and vibrant colours in the clownfish artwork. I struggled a lot with the Butterflyfish artwork. I didn't like the color scheme and changed it a couple of times. One of my favourites is the Oriental Sweetlips fish artwork. It's the black and white striped fish with yellow highlights. These fish are huge and look amazing!
I already miss the Maldives and will probably come back again next year. I usually don't really go to places twice as I love experiencing new cultures and countries, BUT: the Maldives and also Dominican Republic are an exception!