ART CHAT #19: Draw Your World – Wanaka & Queenstown

September 6, 2023



18 May 2023

This is the day (evening actually) when I said to myself “MIN, step away from the sketchbook!!”. I realised that I was T.I.R.E.D. and not in the right headspace to be doing my art. I was rushing to ‘just get it done’. I was feeling pressured to keep up and do what I said I’d do. I realised that I had put this pressure on myself and so I could remove it. I was putting time every evening into daily travel update posts on Facebook and Instagram and had little left in the tank to do my art. My days were full of exploring and awe and wonder and I wanted to be present for all of it and they were physical days too (lots of walking). When evening came along, I was tired and I needed to switch off so I could rest and relax.  

On this evening in Wanaka, I felt pressured (by myself) to sit down and produce some sketches. What I produced was terrible. I know I could have done much better. The sketches were rushed.  The second one was basically scribbled in a bid to get it done and dusted so I could go and rest . I decided then and there that I was going to lift that pressure from myself and if that meant I would need to complete my sketchbook when I got home from holidays, then so be it. And that is what happened after this night. No more drawing, sketching or painting was done for the remainder of the trip (apart from a few notes and ideas as prompts). Once that pressure was removed from me, I felt so much better. Much as I love art and doing art, I really needed some time out from pressures, jobs and obligations. I lived in every moment. I rested when I needed rest, and now that I’m home again, when I get some free time I am slowly but surely filling up my travel sketchbook based on photographs I took while holidaying in New Zealand.

So I present to you – my last sketches done whilst actually in New Zealand. The second one is the one that made me decide to step away from the sketchbook (have a look at the trees). Please note that some of these have photographed better than others.

Wanaka, New Zealand

Wanaka, New Zealand

Wanaka, New Zealand


19 May 2023

These sketches/paintings were done once I was home again.

Wanaka, New Zealand


Wanaka, New Zealand

BraDrona and Queenstown



Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, New Zealand

For your information – the sketch directly above that I did from where I was sitting at Pub on Wharf at Queenstown – note that to the right of the glass of wine is the Pub on Wharf menu. Notice the writing at the top of it. It actually is drawn as it looks and it reads “I never met a pub I didn’t like”. I was confused for a while as to what that was supposed to say … until I had a few sips of my wine haha and it all became clear!  I thought it was very clever!

For all the details about the locations I’ve sketched and painted here, please refer to this post – NZ Trip: Wanaka to Queenstown.

Ciao for now,

Linking up with Denyse Whelan’s ‘Wednesday’s Words and Pics

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  • Reply Lydia C. Lee September 6, 2023 at 7:21 am

    These are beautiful, and what a lovely way to remember your trip! I love the tree in the water best, it’s gorgeous. You’ve a lot of talent!

    • Reply Min September 8, 2023 at 8:24 am

      Thanks so much Lydia! I love hearing which one people like best. I’m so glad you like the Wanaka Tree or as the famous hashtag goes #thatwanaka tree.

  • Reply sherry September 6, 2023 at 9:42 am

    well I have to say I love all your artwork here!

    • Reply Min September 8, 2023 at 8:25 am

      well i have to say thank you so much Sherry!

  • Reply Leanne | September 6, 2023 at 9:50 am

    Hi Min – great that you realized that you needed to step back before you lost the joy of your art and turned it into a chore. I’m sure the drawing etc you’ve done since you’ve been back has evoked some great memories and allowed you to relive some of the trip without the pressure of trying to produce something when you were already so immersed in the trip itself. I’m loving seeing how your artwork is growing and evolving.

    • Reply Min September 8, 2023 at 8:27 am

      Hi Leanne, yes I seem to have a habit of setting high bars for myself and exhausting myself in the process. This holiday was much needed and as much as I wanted to do art on the go as we travelled, it just wasn’t serving me well. I needed more freedom to just enjoy the holiday and get some rest. I’m enjoying doing the sketches now I’m home and yes it’s fun to revisit the trip and memories through the process! Thanks Leanne xo

  • Reply Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid September 6, 2023 at 4:01 pm

    I’m pleased you were able to step away from your sketchbook and be present and rested – although I have to say, those last pics you drew were great (at least to my untrained eyes!) I love that you have chronicled your trip through your art. You know how people make photo books of their travels? I hope you’ll be making an art book of your adventures, imagine how fab it would look on the coffee table!

    • Reply Min September 8, 2023 at 8:29 am

      Thanks Sammie! I’m glad you like them. The second ‘walking track’ one that I did in Wanaka really is terrible by my standards but that’s ok – it tells a story I guess! lol I hadn’t thought of making an art book but that’s some food for thought! xo

  • Reply Debbie Harris September 6, 2023 at 6:04 pm

    It can be hard to deal with the pressure we place on ourselves Min but thankfully you realised in time and just went with the flow! Your sketches are really good and tell the story so well. Do you sketch from photos when you get home from a trip like this? I’m interested in the process of how you do it, not being an artist myself!

    • Reply Min September 8, 2023 at 8:31 am

      Thanks so much Debbie! Yes I use photos as reference. I took so many though so it’s quite a process to decide which ones to sketch/paint. However, some photos I took specifically because I wanted to sketch/paint them. Sometimes I use poetic licence and don’t include every detail – maybe focus on one element or give an impression or interpretation of the scene. It depends on what it is. xo

  • Reply Sue from Women Living Well After 50 September 7, 2023 at 11:01 am

    Stunning, Min! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again you are so talented! I hear you when you say that you needed to step away from your art. We place so much pressure on ourselves and at the end of the day no one is affected but ourselves. I’m sure you are more creative when you feel fresh and relaxed. A lovely memory of your trip and I’m sure your family are very proud of your talent. #WWandPics

    • Reply Min September 8, 2023 at 8:32 am

      You are so kind. Thank you Sue! Yes I know you’d understand about placing so much pressure on ourselves as I know you do this too! I love to be busy and productive and achieve but sometimes I do it to my own detriment. This holiday needed to be a ‘holiday’. And yes I am definitely much more creative when I’m relaxed. xo

  • Reply Susanne September 7, 2023 at 7:43 pm

    Min, these sketches are really good!! Also the one you made in a rush. And I love the thought of a lavender farm! I’ll have to go back and read your NZ travel posts.
    I can 100% relate to the problem of putting too much pressure on ourselves and how it kills the joy with creating, and the productivity too. Sometimes taking a step away from it really helps. With music, I’ve found that I even play better after a break!

    • Reply Min September 8, 2023 at 8:35 am

      Thanks so much Susanne! The lavender farm was gorgeous and the lavender wasn’t even flowering. It would be spectacular when it is! It’s well worth a visit if ever in Wanaka. I have always had a problem with putting too much pressure on myself and setting high bars and perfectionism and all that stuff. I’m getting better at knowing when I need to lower the bar and step back for a bit though and I’m glad I did on this occasion so I could better enjoy the holiday. I’m enjoying doing the sketches so much more now, when I have time and not rushed and tired. xo

  • Reply Denyse Whelan September 8, 2023 at 10:33 am

    Oh Min, whilst I am glad you listened to yourself and stopped the evening sketching I also understand gettting caught up in the ‘have tos and musts’

    So many awesome sketches and memories here. It seems like a great idea to keep revisiting this too because as you are now back and caught up in the ‘life and care’ mode it’s nice to sit back and go, woah…we really did this!! I hope your sketchbook goes to Mum’s with you. For me a bit of relief from life is to make patterns and play with media.

    Thank you so much for linking your blog post to WWandPics this week. See you next week too, I hope, for the link up at Denyse’s Words and Pics! Always appreciative of our connection via blogging! Denyse.

    • Reply Min September 10, 2023 at 1:30 pm

      You hit the nail on the head Denyse! Definitely back into the whirlwind of care and worry and it’s nice to reflect back on this trip that was so needed and wonderful and healing for me. I am looking forward to the next trip – wherever and whenever that might be! xo

  • Reply Leslie Susan Clingan September 14, 2023 at 5:31 am

    I am glad you lifted that self-imposed pressure by setting aside your sketchbook. We are often our own worst enemies. I put a lot of unnecessary pressure on myself to do things and then wind up doing them with little enthusiasm or joy just to say they are done. I’m sorry your last 2 paintings done on the trip were disappointing to you. We all think they are lovely. Glad you were able to continue painting your trip from photos once you got home. Do you use watercolor pencils or paints? Such soft, translucent color.

    • Reply Min September 14, 2023 at 9:39 am

      Hi Leslie, yes I nodded along as I read about how you put pressure on yourself and what that leads to. It’s the same for me! It was the right decision to stop trying to fit in my art. I love doing my art but life has been very stressful and full on for quite a while now and I needed an actual holiday with no pressures on myself except to live in the moment and enjoy myself and get some rest! Those sketches/paintings in Wanaka that disappointed me were actually the best thing to happen to me at the time because they made me finally let go and enjoy and relax! I use watercolour paints (Winsor & Newton).

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