My husband and I recently returned from a holiday in Europe, exploring the cities of Paris, Bruges, Amsterdam, Vienna and Barcelona. Travel for us generally means visiting cafes, cathedrals, art galleries and wandering aimlessly in medieval laneways. I can happily say we got to do all those things.

Even though my art is mainly focused on the natural world, drawing inspiration directly from the landscapes around me, I do find it critically important to travel regularly to other parts of the world and immerse myself in the art and the culture.

It was such a privilege to visit the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, the Rijks museum in Amsterdam and the Pompidou Centre in Paris and see the development of art from the medieval paintings, through the renaissance to the impressionist and the many movements of the 20th Century. Although you can see images of these works online and in books, nothing compares to standing in front of a Renoir or a Miro and experiencing the feeling that emanates directly from the work. Along with the older masters, I loved having the opportunity to visit the Moco Gallery in Amsterdam and see their collection of Banksy, Hirst, Emin and Basquiat artworks.

Our other favourite pastime is visiting the old medieval cathedrals and soaking up the ambience. The cathedrals of Bruges, Vienna and Barcelona especially are vibrant with architectural flourishes, incredible use of space and texture and full of medieval art communicating the religious teachings of the times. My favourite though has to be the Gaudi conceived Sagrada in Barcelona. For this work, there is nothing I can say to communicate the splendour. It is a masterpiece.

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