creative Therapy

Catalyst Sixty
May 3, 2009, 8:00 am
Filed under: catalyst


As always, thank you to all of our visitors and all the encouraging comments you left for us. For those of you who did, thank you for playing along with us.


Ok! Here’s catalyst number sixty:


What’s the best vacation you ever had? Where was is to and why is it the best?


We’re so excited to have Jacqueline Newbold as this week’s Guest Artist.


I ran across Jacqueline’s work when I was clicking around the web and it caught my attention immediately. She makes stunning watercolor paintings that are so vibrant and full of soul that I immediately asked her if she’d be willing to guest for us.


Jacqueline will be leading a painting group in Provence, France in September and she’s also teaching in the upcoming Art and Soul in October. You will get to see more of her beautiful work in the July/August issue of Cloth-Paper-Scissors magazine.


If you’ve never seen her beautiful art make sure to visit her blog or etsy shop.





Here is Jacqueline’s art with this week’s catalyst. You can click on it to see a larger version and more detail.




Jacqueline Says:

As long as I have my watercolor journal and a few painting supplies I am on the best vacation possible. I am ready to capture memories of my travels and record my journeys creating a personal work of art more memorable than any photo album. I never know how the bright fresh pages of my travel journal will be filled whether it is a painting of St. Paul de Mausole in Provence, France where Van Gogh spent some of his last years or capturing the colors of tropical birds in the jungles of Panama.


But if I had to pick my best vacation ever it would be last September when my husband and I were lucky enough to spend a week with friends at the tiny hamlet of Campagnac, France, a small group of 17 century farm houses built for the field hands for the nearby vineyards. Here the honey colored stone walls glow with the warmth of the long autumn days. Here the warm breeze encourage the fall of the tasty ripe figs from the fig trees. Here the ancient perched villages begged for exploration as we drive down narrow lanes lined with tall straight Plane trees that were planted to give shade to Napoleon’s marching army. Here I am giddy with artistic joy as I have time to paint and play in my Watercolor Journeys Journal that has become my constant companion.


One quiet peaceful day in Uzes, our group settles for a leisurely lunch at an outdoor café in the Place aux Herbes, a cobbled stone square in the center of the village. We are surrounded by lovely curving archways supporting massive medieval buildings. The Plane trees cast dappled light and color-filled shadows across the ochre walls. I sketch and paint the fountain in front of a series of aches that captured the sunlight in their graceful curves. Later in my studio in Bend, Oregon this journal entry and other paintings in my journal are the seedlings to my larger paintings.



Technique Highlight:


In a watercolor spiral bound sketch book paint a watercolor scene on one page and make a collage of collected ephemera on the facing page. Once the painting is finished, outline the image with a permanent pen. Label the painting with a title or record your thoughts along the bottom or along the edge. Include the date, a title, events, weather, feelings and thoughts about the day and the area that you are visiting and people you have met. During your vacation collect business cards, tickets, postage stamps, cut out words and photos from brochures, wine labels, paper money, maps and postcard. Using an archival glue stick overlap and connect your collected and found objects. Draw, journal and doodle to create interest. Try pre-painting the page with a light watercolor wash of cobalt blue, permanent rose and transparent yellow watercolor paints and let that dry before adding your ephemera. For something really unique, pre-paint the page with black gesso. Use white or light colored gel pens on the black gesso. I like to connect the items in my journals with doodles and lines using colored pens.



Thank you so much Jacqueline; we’re so very very honored.



Here are some interpretations of the catalyst from members of our team.



Wendela Says:

My best vacation…my favorite country is Norway! I love the silence, the quietness, the beauty of the nature, the very kind people….


2 years ago we went for the first time to Norway. It’s was cold and raining the most of the time, but that wouldn’t keep us from visiting Norway again. This summer we’ll go again!!




Karen Says:

I thought about this one for a long time. Honestly, I’ve had two “best vacation” experiences. The one I decided to highlight here is our honeymoon to the Seychelles islands.


Coincidentally, this was the number one choice for both of us and while the trip was obscenely long and they lost our luggage when we got there, it was worth every single minute. The beaches, the nature and the wildlife at the Seychelles is absolutely breathtaking. We were relaxed, happy, and loved everything about this paradise on earth. I will never, ever forget this trip.


The one I didn’t highlight here was our cross-country trip. In 2003, we both quit our jobs and decided to move across the county. We bought a car and visited 40 states. We camped, we visited all the national parks, we ate both good and really bad food. We spent the whole summer in our little Civic and had a total blast. Another vacation I will never, ever forget.


Why is this in a binder?





Journaling Reads:

The best vacation that I’ve ever been on was in July 2007. One of my very good friends was getting married on the beach there and we decided to make a mini vacation out of it. We had been there before several times on family vacations, but this time was particularly fun because we were on our own, with only another couple with us and we were free to go and do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted. We didn’t have to worry about getting out of bed early or being at a particular place and time like the usual vacations. We relaxed and hung out at the condo that was across from the beach most of the time. We didn’t go out to any fancy restaurants or have any set plans. We cooked in the condo, hung out at the pool and beach for the majority of the trip. It was the most fun and laid back vacation ever.




Severine Says::

My best vacations are in La Réunion, an island paradise, the mountains of dreams for hiking and sea as a fish tank for diving. Beautiful vacations.


In French::

Mes meilleures vacances sont celles que j’ai passé à la réunion, une île paradisiaque, des montagnes de rêves pour la randonnée et une mer comme un aquarium pour la plongée.





Larissa Says:

I’ve already had the opportunity of getting to know places with incredible natural beauty, however, Paris, in summer, was a wonderful first time experience: not only the city was beautiful but, the cultural experience from which I took advantage of was unforgettable.


I lost my breath at the Louvre museum and appreciated every garden, “bistro”, cafe and every stroll in its merry-go-round.


I enjoyed the magnificent architecture, with facades cut out of enchantment, history, richness, beauty and art. Being Camille Claudel’s fan and follower, I could observe an exposition of hers at the Rodin museum, where all his works of art were exposed outdoors…oh, “The Gates of Hell”, a work of a lifetime I saw it personally!


In Montmartre, I ran up and down the slopes, enjoyed rue Lepic and “Les Deux Moulains” café with a friend, observed Salvador Dali’s works of art, outdoor artists, couples kissing on the grass, and I followed the routes from the movie Amélie Poulain…


Every “boulangerie”, glass of wine, chocolate éclaire, ‘macarron”, were delightedly tasted…not to mention the boat tours along river Sena and the walks through magnificent bridges.


Every cultural tour was followed by a nice break, to the sound of Piaf, or any other great French music.


A delicious crepe, a walk filled with fashion windows as I’ve never seen before: getting to know Gautier’s atelier, the Champs Elysée boutiques and walking through any street, filled with postcards and time magazines, full of newspapers and old fashion magazines to buy, take home and cut out…


I still got to experience the 14th of July fireworks, giant illuminated wheels, love kisses and dinner at “Le Grand Colbert”, Keanu Reeves and Diane Keaton’s scenario…and, to finish up, like if wasn’t enough, my husband and I were in a very romantic mood!


I don’t have critics about the trip, an “otherwise” or a “coma”. The only sadness was to go back home when there was still so much to see and appreciate. Nowadays I only have a wish: returning as often as possible…”


For this catalyst, I decided to work on the day I spent at Versailles palace, trying to capture all its luxyry and the enchantment of the “hameau de Marie Antoinette”.





Journaling Reads:

The best vacation, by far, for me was our trip to Maui. We had to postpone our honeymoon and when we finally got to go, we had the best time possible.


Lori Says:

This trip was my third time going to Hawaii and my most memorable. We managed to get married, buy a house and adopt three kitties all in the same month, so we decided to postpone our honeymoon. We went to Maui a year later and it was the best time. We did not stay in a huge hotel, rather we chose a bed and breakfast. It was so cozy and perfect and definitely the best way to go. We did all sorts of activities from riding atc’s to flying in helicopters. Mostly, we just enjoyed spending time together eating, beach-going, shopping and relaxing. I cannot wait to take our children and make more wonderful memories with them.





Lucy Says:

My favorite vacations have always been at the beach so this is not about a specific vacation but just the feeling of the sun, ocean and sand. I used wood as my substrate and distressed it with some glimmer sprays to bring out the woodgrain and added some crackle paint to distress a little more. The photo is a gel-medium transfer onto Lutrador (a spun polyester product) and I found some beautiful crinkle hand dyed velvet in teal to black for the water. I added some painted cheese cloth for texture and burlap. This piece was so relaxing to create and I love the beachy feel and memories it brings back to me!




Now it’s your turn: show us your therapeutic art around “What’s the best vacation you ever had? Where was is to and why is it the best?” I urge you to give it a try. It can be any form of art as long as it speaks to you.


Leave us comments with your work and you will qualify for the RAK we offer to a random participant. If you don’t have a community or blog where you upload photos, you can upload them on our flickr group.



Remember, this is not a competition. If your art makes you feel even a bit better at the end, you’ve won.


Until next week, enjoy each and every moment.




10 Comments so far
Leave a comment

This has been a real eye-opener for me. I’ve seen so many journals on Etsy, and hadn’t realised they could be so much more than a diary! Maybe it’s because I’m a knitter, not a visual artist! The work shown here is just amazing. Jacqueline painted another layer of art with her words – thank you!

Comment by heather

Love this prompt Karen! All the projects are amazing! Gonna give this one a go!

Comment by Mia C.

This is an awesome prompt! Here’s my take. Thanks for the inspiration!

Comment by Michelle LaPoint Rydell

I must know where Larissa found that book or did she create it herself and are ther directions. It is FABULOUS and I NEED it!!!!

Comment by Mart

I think I bought it from Urban Lilly

Comment by Larissa

First I want to say I absolutly love your Blog. My best vacation was our family and friends trip to Mazatlan. I love the orange sunset on the oceans there. So I wanted to create a Layout recreating the sunset using ink. Check out my blog to see what I created, my first attempt at using and blending ink. Thanks

Comment by Kathy

I posted my layout on the flicker group! Thanks for letting me play along!

Comment by toby2007

This one made me think. I almost chose my vacation in Puerto Rico with my boyfriend where I met his family for the first time, but I chose the one to the Philippines that I took on my own. This catalyst had me think it and realize that I discovered and remembered a lot of things on this vacation by myself.

Here’s my page:

Comment by Christine

i love how this blog features women artists – it’s very supportive and informative with interesting articles.

Comment by kecia

family vacations in a nice tropical country would be very very nice ;”`

Comment by 120mm fan

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