Fold or roll? Just remember the art supplies!

The beautiful Istrain coastline.

When I was invited to spend a month in the Croatian seaside town of Opatija this summer, I have to admit I hesitated: what would I do away from my studio for a whole month? It’s not that Opatija, an elegant resort on the Istrian coast isn’t a desirable holiday location: it’s got sun, sea, elegant architecture, good food and shopping. But a whole month?

Balcony conversation in Opatija.

Of course I said yes! And I very soon realised I knew exactly what I would do when I wasn’t swimming, sleeping or eating. I could take my art with me.

Recently I have been working on small collages I make using photocopied photos and scrap paper on cardboard packaging, (boxes from soap and toothpaste and chocolate bars, that sort of thing.) All I needed to take with me was some photocopies, some tubes of gouache paint and some colour pencils, and wait for everything else I need to appear.

My suitcase ready to go!

It didn’t take long to find the rest: once I had bought a packet of soap, some locally made skin cream and some (delicious!) chocolates from the Royal Hotel, I had all I needed.

The beauty of working with all these materials is that I can work small, which means I don’t need a lot of space. We had rented a teeny tiny apartment, but it had a table, and that was just fine.

Once I had cleared away breakfast, I could get to work.
All those chocolate boxes certainly came in handy!

It was hot. But that’s ok: I cut, coloured, painted, cut, glued, cut some more, glued some more until the original photocopies and cardboard boxes had been transformed into something new.

Then I got to go outside and swim!

The sea in Opatija is like a big, giant swimming pool.


Comes with unicorns!
And old geezers.