Thursday, March 25, 2010

Travel Journals

When I travel I keep a written account of my trip. Along with my photographs, I consider a journal to be an important component of any holiday. Rather than using a lined notebook, I write in a blank artist's sketchbook so that I can include sketches with my text. I use a hard cover coil bound book with pages large enough to make sketching easy on my lap and that fits well into my carry-on luggage. I sketch in airports, on the plane, looking outside my hotel window, on the beach, at sidewalk cafes and anywhere my travels take me. I may use ballpoint pen, coloured pens, felt pens or water soluable pencil crayons. Here is a sample of sketches of Thailand, Hawaii and Cuba from my most recent travel journal.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Road Trip

In July 2009 my husband and I went on a 12-day road trip around our home province of British Columbia in Canada. We drove 4300 kilometers in a large circle route and briefly visited 33 small villages and towns along the way.

I thought it would be interesting to record this trip in sketches to compliment the holiday snaps that I usually take. For this project I chose my largest 24-page 11" x 14" watercolour sketchbook and painted on one side of each page only. The format of each sketch varies, many of them long panoramic views best seen through the windshield of a car. Unfortunately there was little time to stop and sketch because we were always on the move, so most of my sketches were completed once I returned home.

Gulf Islands, Fraser Valley and highway tunnel and Hell's Gate.

The wild animals sited on the trip and some of the road crossing signs.

Fraser Canyon, Ashcroft on the Thompson River and railway yard.

Chasm, Horsefly River and a street in the historic town of Barkerville.

More scenes of Barkerville.

Wells, Jack o'Clubs Lake near Wells, and the Peace River.

Aspen poplar trees in northern B.C., view through a screen door at Swan Lake and a pile of elk and moose antlers.

Canola fields in bloom at Grand Prairie, lake at Hinton Alberta, Icefields Parkway, Jasper

Athabaska Falls, Columbia River, Fort Steele barracks and street scene.

Nelson bicycle shop, Willow Point Lodge, Kaslo street scene.

Silver mining ghost town of Sandon, old house in Grand Forks and Manning Park.

House Sketchbook

From a very early age, I have had a fascination with old houses. I even dream about them sometimes. As a drawing exercise I decided to draw each of 11 houses in one city block of my neighbourhood. Not all houses on the block were the same age or style, so each one was a unique drawing challenge. On the last page, I included my own house which is located just around the corner from my subject street. I used a 24-page 8 1/2" x 12" watercolour sketchbook painting on one side of the page only. Here is a sample:

Tribute to Tuppy

For six years we cared for a Jack Russell Terrier named Tuppence, Tuppy for short, who had lived with an elderly parent for the first ten years of her life. She came to us a mature dog with a big heart, winning personality and a strong Jack Russell character. When she became quite old, I decided it was time to draw and paint a tribute to her and she turned out to be a fabulous subject.

For this project I used a 24-page 8 1/2" x 11" watercolour sketchbook and painted on one side of the pages only with pen and tube watercolours. The texture of carpet and sand was achieved by sprinkling table salt on wet paint.

Spain-Rome Sketchbook

In 2008 I went on an oil painting holiday to Spain. A group of Canadians along with our instructor David Goatley spent 12 days at El Molino, a converted mill and bakery come guest house painting en plain air with oils. The advantage of staying in one place out in the country for such a long time is that there is plenty of time to concentrate on sketching and painting.

I started this 8 1/5" x 12" watercolour sketchbook in Spain and finished the 24 paintings from photographs once I returned home. I used fine-tipped black pens, graphite and watercolour pencils, pan watercolour paints and acrylic paints in this project.

As well as painting on location around the mill, we made excursions to the hill-top town of Iznajar.

We made another day trip to Ronda, an ancient town on an escarpment spanned by several bridges.

The highlight of the trip was a chance to tour the fortress El Hambra near Granada.

On the return trip home I stopped over in Rome and walked the street of the ancient city centre for two days.