Watercolour sketching captured my heart only in the last couple of years. Before that, I didn’t know anything about sketching or how to use watercolours for that matter. It’s magic to me that with just a few squiggly lines and some paint, I can record a slice of our life! I wonder why I never did this earlier in my life ..?
During summer holidays this year, we decided to travel within our home country, Austria. We spent most of our time in Upper Austria and a bit in lower Austria too. This was the most relaxing holiday we ever had in years! Unlike most of our camping holidays in Croatia, where getting a good spot for your camping van is like winning a lottery and secondly, you can’t relax because the coast of Istria is visited by a throng of holidaymakers.
During our holidays, I not only spent quality time with my family, but I also had ample time to sketch in the most peaceful and relaxed atmosphere. This blog is a collection of sketches from our Summer holidays this year. What makes these sketches even more dear to me are that I recorded all those wonderful moments with my own handmade watercolours, made using sustainable and eco-friendly pigments. These sketches give me a very unique and personal record of my experiences.
This is my travel kit which I always travel with. My mini palette never changes as these are all the colours that I have and use. I love the challenge of working with a limited palette.
The mesmerising view from our cottage of the lake Atter (or Attersee in German). It was a simple life for 10 days in a very old and cosy wooden cottage by the lakeside that provided us with all the basic needs.
The view of Höllengebirge (mountains of hell) from our balcony.
Sketch of the town, Steinbach am Attersee.
I went on a solo hike to explore the trail of Kienklausse-Taferlklausse. I took out my sketchbook to record this path which I had admired looking at during trail run a day before.
I couldn’t walk all the way to Taferlklausse because midway through my hike I came across a sign that read ‘wegen wald arbeit gesperrt’ i.e the path is inaccessible due to tree lopping and trespassers will be prosecuted. Yikes! I tried to call my husband but there was no signal on the hilltop. So, I went back to the base and called my husband to pick me up. Our plan of having a picnic together still happened though and I made this sketch from our picnic spot.
The landscape in Steinbach is also very beautiful but its easy to overlook it because the turquoise blue water of Attersee is very captivating. I sketched this on my way to home from Strandbad (public beach).
One evening after dinner I went out alone to sketch and I sketched this old house near Strandbad in the evening summer light.
On our last evening, I spontaneously grabbed my sketchbook and sketched the sunset!I would have missed it had my husband not stopped me from packing our bags and taking a moment to look out of the window and enjoy the sunset as a family!
After leaving Steinbach am Attersee we spent some time at my in-laws in Gmunden. This time I decided to sketch the Gasthaus (Restaurant and B&B) of my in-laws, Gasthof Engelhof which also happens to be one of the best in the Salzkammergut region. I have always shied away from drawing buildings but this time I mustered some courage to sketch an architecture. I was quite happy with my sketch :-)!
The next day my husband and I went on a hike to a small hill behind our house called Grünberg. On reaching halfway through I decided spontaneously to sketch the scene of distant towns and agricultural land. I appreciate my husband’s patience since we still had a fair bit to walk to reach the top.
During our stay in Gmunden, we were hit by the summer heatwave. Hence, we decided to laze around the lake Traun or Traunsee as we say it in German. Its the deepest lake in Austria. I quickly sketched the Schloß Ort ( a very well known medieval castle) and the surrounding landscape as I was sitting facing the direct ‘hot’ sun. After sketching I took a short swim in a very cold lake to cool down and refresh whilst my husband and our son enjoyed their ice-creams.
Our two-week-long stay in Upper Austria came to an end and we took a train back home to Graz. We love travelling by train because my son and I get plenty of time to sketch in a 4 1/2hr long journey that goes through one of the most scenic rail routes. One of the stop that falls on this stretch of rail route is the world heritage town of Hallstatt. I had very little time but enough to capture it with a pencil. I coloured the sketch later in the train from memory.
I am glad that I traded my camera for a humble sketchbook. Doing a sketch of a scene imprints it on my mind so much more than taking a picture. It’s not always easy to find the time to do a drawing when we’re on vacation (or any other time, for that matter!), but I’m always so glad I did.
Next up: Sketches from Lower Austria..coming soon