Toronto, ON  |  email: raquel@raquelaurini.com  |  © 2019 Raquel Aurini 

Artist retains copyright ownership and all reproduction rights to the artwork. The artwork may not be reproduced in any manner, whatsoever, without a written and signed agreement by the Artist.

  • Facebook - White Circle
  • Instagram - White Circle
  • Twitter - White Circle
  • Tumblr - White Circle
  • Raquel Aurini

MY SKETCHBOOK V3: PUNTA CANA



A break from winter

Last week I was in Punta Cana where I recharged, relaxed and had a fantastic birthday in the sun. Pictured above is our view every morning and afternoon. While Ryan read, I sketched, doodled, and planned out ideas for future paintings. That is, when I wasn't busy playing and floating in the waves.


Here's Ryan and I, in our sun shelter. We got a few laughs and smirks from people while setting it up, but hell – I'm married to a ginger. Gingers burn and...

nobody likes a crispy ginger.

We've been back a whole day and already it feels like forever ago that we felt that sun. Back to grey and snow. Only a couple of months of winter left I keep telling myself.

Blissful boredom The last time we did this sort of vacation was in 2014. Our yearly trips after that were more adventurous. Lots to do and see, which are my favourite kind of trips. But there's a love I have for these beach trips were the only purpose and goal is to sit on a beach, enjoying that sun.

Some find this boring as f**k.

Being that I have a temperament that can't sit still for too long and is prone to boredom (the usual ADD symptoms), one could assume that I'd be bored with this type of vacation. NOPE.


I can amuse myself for hours laying on a beach lounger. I love to people watch. I study the shapes, lines, and colours of the landscape and nature in front of me. Ideas will pop in my head – some great ideas, some bad (but funny). It's interesting the stuff that comes to mind when you're not actively trying for stuff to come to mind. If that makes any sense?

Every time we go to one of these places, Ryan spends 5 minutes with me in the water, while I continue to spend 2 or more hours in it. "What are you doing out there" each time he asks. Last week in Punta Cana I floated and treaded water while staring at that horizon for hours every day. The first day my legs actually hurt from it.

What was I doing out there? In my head, I composed future paintings. I studied the colours of the sky and water. How the sky was reflected in the movements of the water. I loved it. And water is another way that I recharge.


One of my favourite moments of the trip was meeting an American woman named Susie with the same love of water. The first day, we ran together to the ocean and stood in the sand, waves splashing our legs and holding hands we both stared into that ocean. I love connecting with people wherever we go and as weird as this kind of was, it was also pretty special. We were also pretty drunk.

Sketches in the sun

I've babbled long enough about my lounging in the sun and playing in the water. This is a sketchbook post, right?! Right. Though, they may not be the most refined sketches I've done, here are a few from the sketchbook.


The top plant was the first one I did on the trip. Sitting at the "Sand Bar", drinking a margarita, I drew that guy. Right before the rain interrupted us and I jumped in a pool to make being wet official.

The second box is doodling palm trees. Experimenting with different ways of drawing those incredible trees. Stay tuned for new paintings and palm tree patterned merchandise to be available on my site.

The bottom left image was a tree that – I'll quote what I wrote in that chicken scratch writing of mine... "We sat under this unusual tree on the beach in Punta Cana. It gave us some shade and was beautiful." I like to write little notes to look back on in the future while flipping through my sketchbooks. I also am in the habit of dating my sketches. I like keeping records.

To the bottom right, is an example of a painting plan. This was formed in my head as I bobbed along in the ocean. I got out of the water to do a quick sketch of what I saw with notes on colour. I also went back in with the GoPro for photo reference. It's just a shame that photos can't recreate exactly what I saw (from my camera / camera skills), but I guess that's why I paint it.

And then there's this.


I love people watching. Resorts are awesome for that. It's also a challenge to draw people because they have the tendency to move around a lot. So I had to be quick.

As an artist, of course I'm interested in the human form. The different body types fascinate me. In chicken scratch I wrote: "so many shapes of human". Note that this is not a judgment. Humans are beautiful in many different ways and one doesn't have to have that "perfect" body to have beauty. (I know I don't.)

A thank you to the staff at the Riu Bambu

Part of me loves attention and part of me hates it. It can make me feel awkward. Lately, I've been trying to embrace attention because the art life is a choice I have made for my life and people looking at me is required. In my previous advertising job I was happy to be in the studio, hidden from clients and any attention. Now, my art = my life and I need to show it.

The last thing I want to share from my trip is this video from the night before my birthday. We went to the steakhouse restaurant with the lovely woman I held hands with in the ocean (Susie), her husband, Gary, and Ryan. At the end of the meal the waiters of the Riu Bambu surprised me with a cake and song. Susie set this up, she's awesome. A big thank you to her and the waiters at the Riu.

And while it's a touch embarrassing to post publicly here goes...


And I ate that cake for breakfast for the next two days. Delicious.

Now, time to work on some Punta Cana paintings. Thank you for taking the time to read this rather long post, and bye for now.

#PuntaCana #RiuHotels #vacation #travel #sun #beach #sketchbook #doodles #drawing #sketches #water #happyplace #play #skies #mylife #joy #lifestyle