Holidays have always inspired me to pick up my pens and draw the new environment around me. Whether it’s on a caffeine high inside a tiny café in Bilbao, bristling with energy and speedy Spanish conversations or in the meticulously clipped gardens of Sissinghurst Castle, dashing couples clashing in their primary brights with the soft mauves of weeping wisteria flowers, flowing over old stone walls. Being in new places has always cleared my eyes of the ordinary, frequently seen visions of one’s own world and allowed me to translate new experiences directly onto the paper.
When I first started travelling, Asia blew my mind. It was in such stark contrast to the safe, urban environments of Melbourne. I loved the chaos and seeming impermanence of cities like Bankok.
“The cluttered city buzzing and alive with tinny horns tooting. Cabs with trays you sit in under trays of frangipani flowers and aluminium beaten into exquisite patterns above the dashboard, as the streets spin past in the open air. Our cabbies hang cardboard pine tree air fresheners from the rear vision mirror, shut the windows and put on the air conditioner.”
Arriving back in Australia I noticed how much space between houses and people. Fences stiff and dividing, people plugged in and expressionless, yards clipped, mown and square. There seemed little buzz or life in the streets after dark and I mourned for the tropical wilds of Asia.