Travel Sketch: the Italian Alps

I really like the idea of keeping travel sketchbooks. Part of what I love about traveling is all the artistic inspiration I get from observing nature, people, architecture, culture — how life unfolds, in general, in places the world over. When I’m traveling, though, I end up struggling to actually keep a sketchbook because I’m so busy taking it all in. There are so many stimuli, and I feel so immersed in the experience that I can’t sit still long enough to draw it. The thought of trying to translate a slice of it onto paper overwhelms me because I’m afraid that it won’t do justice to the realtime experience that I’m having.  And of course, I’m self conscious about making something…ugly.

But whenever I DO manage to sketch places I visit, I always really appreciate it afterwards. A sketch is able to capture “the feel” of a moment and place in a way that a photo cannot. Looking back at my travel sketches brings me back to that snippet of time, and I suddenly remember details like what thoughts I was having and what the sounds were like on the street. I often say that sketching is an excellent way to slow down and appreciate, on a deep level, what is going on around you. The act of doing it helps attach you to the moment, so that when you look at the sketches later, you remember (quite viscerally actually) so, so many things that you thought you’d forgotten.

So I’m going to be less self conscious and do more travel sketches. But in the meantime, I’ve been doing some sketches based on photos I took from past travels, and it has been a worthy exercise too. It also helps me remember the experience and reminds me how much I appreciate life. As always, art brings me back to the realization that to simply exist in this world is a rich, heart-filling adventure.

This is somewhere in the Italian Alps. June 2013:



Just a Little Cat Sketch

I got some new fountain pens for Christmas — they’re WONDERFULLY handy! Like many artists, I like to sketch with nibs because the line quality is more versatile than with technical pens. With these new pens, I can sketch anywhere without worrying about spilling jars of ink, because they have their own refillable ink cartridges. (Yes I know, what a technological advancement!) Wahoo! I plan on doing lots of travel sketching with them, among other things.

The sketch below was done to test the range of thickness and line quality I can get with said pens. It’s based on a photo my husband took of one of our cats, Miko, sleeping soundly in her carpeted cat “hut”. Nothing fancy, but I’d figure I’d post it just to stay in touch.




Advent Calendar Coloring book: December 24th and 25th

Here are today and tomorrow’s coloring book pages. Hope you have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!



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Advent Calendar Coloring Book: December 21st

Hark! I bring you glad tidings of great joy, for today is the Winter Solstice, and thus the shortest day of the year. From now on, your days will be getting longer and this early darkness shall soon cease!AdventCalendar_21_ShepherdsDownload and print here: AdventCalendar_21_Shepherds