A Painting Holiday in Barcelona

How Living in Spain Made Me Question My American Identity / Parties during Lent: Balance in Spain, A Painting Holiday in Barcelona

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Have you ever thought about taking a painting holiday?  If you would have asked me two months ago, my answer would likely have been a resounding “no” as well.  But after my experience on an art holiday in Barcelona, I want all of my fellow travelers out there to know about the wonders of taking an artistic break.

At the end of November, I flew to Barcelona, Spain to begin a new chapter in my adventures: an artsy one.  I had done one actual drawing class before, a beginner’s sketching class offered through the Smithsonian in DC.  Yes, I had enjoyed destroying restaurant tablecloths with doodles when I was little.  But regardless of some sporadic interest, I am no artist to speak of.  I enjoyed the thought of developing my less than amateur skills into something a bit more impressive, but school and work had always gotten in the way.

A Painting Holiday in Barcelona

Painting Holiday
Paintings in Barcelona

I had never done watercolor before so I was not expecting much from my abilities.

So there I was taking a semester off, free to pursue my wildest dreams (well something like that) and I thought that I should take another stab (or shall I say “stroke”?) at art. I did some good ol’ internet research and found a perfect one week-long watercolor painting course in Barcelona.  I would live in a couple’s apartment (housing solved!) and go out and paint during the day with the professional artist husband.  I had never done watercolor before so I was not expecting much from my abilities.

And so began one of the most enjoyable and relaxing weeks I’ve had in a while.  There is something about the 100% focus that you must dedicate to painting, watching the scene, and trying to capture the energy on a simple sheet of flimsy paper.  Even more daring, this watercolor course was done en plein air or outdoors.  We would bring out easels and paints to a square, cathedral, or beach and paint as curious pedestrians strolled by.

Sure, it was a little nerve-wracking at first with that self-conscious voice whispering in my ear, but I quickly overcame my nervousness. The experience gave me time to feel free, get lost in the painting and not care if my work looked like a masterpiece or a three-year-old’s doodle.

Yet, this holiday was the perfect way to dive into something new and creative without commitment.

In five days of painting, I had produced five completed paintings that were not half-bad (though I have not yet discovered my inner Michelangelo).  I am not studying or working in art, nor do I plan to pursue drawing or painting as anything more than a hobby.  Yet, this holiday was the perfect way to dive into something new and creative without commitment.  I would recommend an artistic holiday to even the stick figure designers of the world.  This type of vacation is springing up across the globe, in cities and countrysides.  Lodging and supplies are often included in the program fee, which can be quite reasonable for something so all-inclusive.

A Painting Holiday in Barcelona

Why not pursue an artistic endeavor?  That creativity will begin flowing in no time and you will return to your school or job feeling invigorated.  Maybe you can give your boss a portrait for Christmas… well, on second thought, maybe that can wait until next year.


A Painting Holiday in Barcelona

About Robin Schmid

Robin SchmidAfter graduating from Georgetown University, Robin Schmid traveled throughout Central America, South America, and Europe.

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