Emily Townsend
Travel Journal Video
Posted October 17, 2011 by Emily Townsend in Travel Journal
Just put a silly little movie of my latest journal here at youtube:

Diana Hollingsworth Gessler
My illustrated travel journals date back to 1974 so when my genius friend and webmaster, Tim Kling, and I decided to revise my website, we had a treasure trove of illustrations to choose from. The only problem for Tim was that he became visually overloaded with so many options. But then we got a process going whereby he would describe the size and type of illustration he needed, and I would begin perusing the journals—all 25 of them. I do have an index of all the countries/cities in the journals, but I now plan to go back and make an index of the illustrations (palm trees, turtles, etc) so that the next time we revise the website it will be a little less time consuming since I tended to linger over some of the memories as I was researching. If you have journals you understand. www.dianagessler.com
Admin (Gill)
I recently stumbled upon the blog of Artist Leslie Fehling - what a delight! Her watercolour sketches are just beautiful, and she has some stunning journals of her travels in Italy
Lupia by Leslie Fehling
and Ireland. I was particularly struck by one of her posts about the realities of sketching on vaction, and asked her permission if I could share it with you.

So, with thanks to Leslie, I have reproduced it here...

The Realities of a Sketching Vacation by Leslie Fehling

Italy was wonderful, beautiful, art-filled, exciting, and endlessly interesting. There's so much to tell, and it's difficult to even know where to start. I'll be posting lots of photos and notes about the trip over the coming weeks, but I'm guessing a lot of you are wondering if I actually did any sketching while I was over there.

Since the purpose of this trip was to see Italy at a slower pace and have time to do lots of sketching, I had high hopes of coming home with a sketchbook brimming with beautiful finished pages filled with watercolor sketches and travel journaling.

Can you guess what really happened? I have seventy pages in my sketchbook with 'something' on them. I drew sixty-four individual sketches, but only one 10" x 7" sketchbook page (yes, one!) is actually complete! Here it is...

Near Bolzano by Leslie Fehling

I started off with a bang on Day 1. After tasting our first Italian cappuccino at a coffee shop in town, we sat outside and sketched the gelateria across the street. It was a lot of fun painting on site, and I worked quickly to splash on the watercolor after doing my drawing with a brown watercolor pencil. The text was added later, and the page was complete!

In the hours and days that followed, I found myself wanting to get more and more of my experiences down on paper, but there simply wasn't enough time to paint it all. Around every corner there was an ancient building with weathered shutters just begging to be drawn, or a beautiful wrought iron balcony with trailing vines against warm golden stucco walls. There were castles and vineyards and olive groves everywhere we turned - so much to draw in a limited amount of time!

Near Siena by Leslie Fehling

Rather than become frustrated with the overwhelming amount of subject matter, I decided that whatever I managed to accomplish was enough. I wanted it to be a fun vacation, not a race to the finish. So most of my pages look something like this, with partially painted sketches and blank spots which I plan to fill in later...

Vicenza by Leslie Fehling

Often I would be forced to leave a painting half finished when we had to catch a train, check out of a hotel, or head to our next stop...
Manarola by Leslie Fehling

There are pages like this next one, where I was having so much fun painting that I totally neglected to finish the right side of the lower sketch. See the area where the distant mountain is missing?

Tuscany http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-MmcMLxeL5hk/UXwq38yEsuI/AAAAAAAAGBw/MfgU7-AKb-M/s1600/Tuscany.jpg

I generally had a loose idea of a plan for the page layout in my head when I began sketching on a page. Other times, I slapped something down in the excitement of the moment, then later tried to figure out how to bring the page together with a title, text, borders, or bands of color which could be added later.

San G by Leslie Fehling

A few of my sketchbook pages even look something like this:

Lucca by Leslie Fehling

That's reality. Sometimes I chose to simply relax and enjoy the short time I had in a place rather than feeling obligated to fill a page in my sketchbook. It would have been great to sketch in Lucca, but there just wasn't time. We arrived in the late afternoon and strolled around the historic town center, then rented bikes for an hour to ride on the old town walls surrounding the town before the sun went down. Better to experience the bike ride myself than to sit and sketch all the other people riding by. I can add a drawing later on this page using the reference photos I took that day. (I took over 1200 photos in fourteen days! That might be a tad excessive, but there was so much to take pictures of!)

I journaled every evening, writing about all the interesting places we'd seen and people we met. I worked on inking the penciled-in text on the flight home when I had eight hours with nothing to do. Reading over all of our adventures was a great way to end the trip.

I'll be working on finishing up my Italy sketchbook as time allows this spring and summer, and I'll be sure to share it with you. I'd love to be in my studio working on it all day every day, but spring is a busy time of year, with planting and mulching and mowing to tend to, plus my sewing business. I know it might take awhile to complete all seventy journal pages, but that's okay. I'm looking forward to reliving those good times and wonderful places as I draw and paint my way from Venice to Tuscany to Cinque Terre on the pages of my sketchbook.


So, be sure to head on over to Leslie's site to see some of those finished pages

And please do leave a comment below for Leslie if you have enjoyed her article, and spread the word by sharing this with your friends. If you do not see the comment box below simply click here and scroll to the bottom of the post.
Fran Meneley

I was in Taos, New Mexico the week before last for a class with artist, Sas Colby. Here a are a few pages from my travel journal.

We spent the week at the Mabel Dodge Luhan house - an old, storied and charming adobe just a few blocks from town, tucked up against the Taos Pueblo lands. That's Mabel and her friends Frieda Lawerence (wife of D.H.) and painter Dorothy Brett in the upper left hand corner. I found a little sketched vintage postcard that I wanted to include of the now famous Taos church. We did watch the full moon rise over the morada from Mabel's huge guest room windows - but the photo in the bottom right hand corner is from a gallery guide, it's Moonrise Over Hernandez, by Ansel Adams.


I mapped the places we went in Taos - only a few as we were mostly in the studio drawing - and I mapped my sweet little room in the studio building. I'm so enjoying the layer of richness that mapping brings to my travel journals.


I made a little pocket for my class notes out of some artist paper I had and a little watercolor drawing I did of Guadalupe from a drawing moment at the sculpture park one day. I love pockets in my travel journals for writing that I want to keep, but have a little more private. I spent some time drawing the morada in walnut ink with a haiku from our walk there one morning. I also included a little sketch of Mabel's birdhouses on a tea bag! That's right...dried tea bags! They make wonderful stained paper - soft and transparent - they are just the right size to capture a moment and that can be added to a travel journal with a couple of dots of glue stick.
Erin Perry

We just got back from a week in New Hampshire. Our friend Franny invited us to spend time in her cozy 1920's era cabin on Lower Kimball Pond next to the Maine border.


For this native coastal Californian it was an amazing treat to see snow, frozen rivers and lakes and survive 17 below!


I stocked up on "all things snow" - paper, rusty(!) snowflakes and pine trees, ribbon, brads, vintage New Hampshire postcards and Faber Castel Artist pens in ivory and indanthrene blue. I prepped several pages before we left using beige acrylic and a blue glaze from Golden. I also stenciled on a few of the pages using doilies and spray paint.


After a walk in the snow, it was perfect to sit by the fire, pull out all the supplies and spend time writing, cutting and pasting and creating another travel journal.


We had a great time, but it's good to be back in warmer temperatures. We have packed away the big coats and snow boots until next time!
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