My interview with Tom Laukkanen
Originally appeared oon his website, “A Travel Painting Blog“.
Reprinted below without the photos.
A Question and Answer with Michael Liebhaber
2) I notice that you tend to work small, the focus lending it self towards convenience and capturing your experience quickly. What, for you, are the benefits of working in this manner?
I think there are two benefits from working small, one practical and the other artistic. I prefer to work large, but my circumstances made it impractical. It was much simpler to have an easily portable kit that did not weigh me down if I wanted to take a long walk in a port, yet was able to provide me the capability to sketch and paint whenever I wanted. My motto soon became: compact is convenient, convenience is good. Everything fit into one or two pockets in my cargo pants. The artistic benefit was that the small format freed my mind from the investment that I had in large-scale works. As a result, I painted often and fearlessly, which lead me to a consistent style and better painting (in my ever so humble opinion).
As much as I love the desert southwest, I miss international travel painting. Mixing international travel and painting is fun, a natural high. My career with Celebrity taught me that travel painting is not just about the painting. I need the travel. In the past, I traveled to a location to paint. Now, I paint while I travel. Big difference for me. Everywhere is a “location”. I enjoy where-ever I am and I can paint there, too.
Travel painting also stretches my personal envelope. I do not consider myself adventurous or gregarious, but I like to going places and seeing things. Meeting people is a by-product of painting on location. Painting is a good, non-threatening way to meet people. People of all ages and occupations (e.g., locals, tourists, school children, waiters, police) have come up to me. One of my more memorable conversations was with a young French woman as I was drawing the Villefrance waterfront. She sat down and we chatted for about ten minutes, me in English, she in French, about “Je ne sais pas”. What fun!