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?


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.
Gill Tomlinson
The end of Summer...
Posted September 30, 2011 by Gill Tomlinson in Travel Journal
We're still enjoying fabulous weather here in Greece, with temperatures around 27 degrees today, but there's a definite feeling of this being the last of the intense summer heat. Although it's probably still as hot as a mid-summer day in England, my visits to the beach are becoming less frequent now. Here are a couple of sketches done recently on trips to the beach.

Fran Meneley

When I travel I take a small journaling kit to have at the ready for journaling my journey. I use a small Kokuyo bag with a roomy interior that holds my favorite travel journaling supplies:

Peerless Watercolor papers
A glue stick
2 water brush pens
small scissors - remember to take them out of your carry on
mechanical pencil with an eraser
Sharpie black poster paint pen
2 "S" size Faber-Castell PITT artist pens
White Uniball Signo White pen
A couple of colored gel pens
White crayon for watercolor resist
Folded up cocktail napkin for cleaning my water brush pens
Small set of rub on letters
A couple of small glassine enevelopes

I like to use journals with water color paper. I either take one that I've had made with Fabriano Artistico 140 lb. watercolor paper or I also like Moleskine watercolor journals. I try to stick to a journal that is around 8" X 6" - they fit in my bag nicely. A few supplies go a long way to creating wonderful journal pages.
Fran Meneley

Wow! What a great find I stumbled upon yesterday at my favorite local (and very fabulous) art paper store - Scissors disguised as a pen! How brilliant is that? I have surrendered more than one pair to airport security personnel, literally across the globe, because I've left them in my travel journal kit in my carry on. TSA frowns upon them. But you can take knitting needles on an air plane. Really? But I digress.


These fold up like a pen and then, voila they are scissors sharp enough for collage fodder and comfortable to hold. Brilliant design. I believe it's a German company that makes them, so may be readily available in Europe at stationery stores. A quick Google search revealed they can be ordered from - my favorite Japanese pen company.

Love them and had to share.
Erin Perry
Southwest Passage
Posted June 28, 2011 by Erin Perry

Winter 2009 found me in Taos, taking a week long workshop with Lynne Perrella and Anne Bagby. It was a magical experience - the teachers, the art, staying at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House, and, the snow (especially for this coastal California girl).


We were kept delightfully busy, but I did manage to find odd moments here and there to compete a journal.


I love now being able to leaf through the pages and have the memories back as crisp and sharp as if I'd been there last weekend. It is so true that when we create a travel journal, we can open it at any time and relive the experience.
Displaying 11 to 15 of 44