About Lorraine Bell
Lorraine Bell, also known as “The Wandering Artist,” is a self-taught Mixed Media Artist who fills her days with painting, traveling, and writing. Lorraine has filled volumes of sketchbooks with her illustrations and stories bursting with her adventures on the road. For her, the art in her travel journals is about documenting what she feels in the moment by taking in not only the sights, but also the memory associated with a certain place.
A savvy world traveler, she yearns for parts unknown. If she is not travelling, she is busy planning her next adventure. For her, the preparation and anticipation are as much fun as the journey itself.
Lorraine is one of the founding members of the collaborative team, Art to the 5th. She created a visual calendar/journal that was the inspiration for The Documented Life Project, a year-long undertaking that encouraged visual and written chronicles of daily life and gathered nearly 14,000 people in a creative and lively online adventure. This project sparked the ground-swelling popularity of the “planner” craze throughout the world.
She has made the tiny island of Grand Cayman her home for the last 30 years. On the rare occasions she is sitting still, you will find her on the beach under a coconut tree with sketchbook in one hand and paintbrush in the other. She hosts retreats for artists and teaches both online and onsite. Lorraine is happiest when she is sharing her art with fellow creatives.
ArtWalk Interview with Lorraine Bell
Lorraine took the time to answer our artists’ questions about her background, inspiration and teaching style.
Why do you do what you do?
I have always documented my travels through the written word and illustrations. Over time, these journals have become so important to me – they are like a chronicle of my life’s journey. A few years ago, I was asked to share my technique to a group of artists and learned I had a great love for gathering creatives and sharing my passion for capturing my adventures with more than just a camera. I can’t think of anything more satisfying that seeing the world through the eyes of an artist!
How do you work? What is your teaching style?
I travel as light as possible when I teach, carrying only the necessities for capturing quick sketches and creating on the run. While it is always nice to spend hours painting in one spot, I find my favorite art pieces are ones that I created quickly and without a lot of attention to detail. After all, life comes at us fast and my goal is to capture the “moment.”
What is your background?
I am a self-taught artist and have worked in the art industry in once capacity or another for more than 30 years. Previously a mixed-media artist, I fell in love with watercolor and never looked back. I have taught both online and in person over the past 10 years and authored an art book a few years ago. Easing into retirement, I am devoting full time to study, art and traveling as much and as often as I can.
What attracts you about travel journaling?
I never set out to be a “travel journaler.” In fact, I was doing this before it was even popular. While a camera is great when to snap beautiful sights, when I returned from my trips, I rarely went back and looked at the photos. Eventually the experience faded from my memory. I could not remember exactly where a picture was taken or why I was even there.
Once I started pausing to keep a journal, I was able to jot down notes and ideas and capture bits and pieces through illustration. Together these components put together an entire story of my adventures. I document everything – not just images, but what I am feeling in the moment. I capture things about the culture, food and people. What is happening at that particular place and time like the music playing or the scent of garden. Things a photograph won’t help you remember.
Why do students attend your courses?
I find most people that join me are adventurers and solo travelers that are looking for like-minded people to travel with. On art adventures, you automatically start with one thing in common – a love of creating. From there, ideas are exchanged, encouragement and inspiration abound. Friendships are forged. It’s a beautiful way to see the world.
What have you learned from creating while you travel?
At the risk of sounding trite, I have learned that the world is beautiful place and that people throughout the globe are mostly good and kind. The experience of learning about other cultures and immersing myself in a place is not only humbling, but an absolute gift. The only way to hold on to that is through creative documentation.
The most significant thing I take away from creative travel is the experiences you have in your heart while you are in a place are translated into a beautiful journal or sketchbook that you will treasure forever. Generations will admire the stories told in the pages I have created.