Friday, August 30, 2013

Journey to Italy

Mary Beth Shaw here. My husband and I were lucky enough to go to Italy this past May. In preparation for the trip, I made several small journals - one for each section of our journey. These are smaller versions of the journal that I typically use for travel. 
Basically, I paint one 22x30 sheet of Fabriano Hot Press paper, both sides. I use Matisse background paints because they are matte in finish and you can write over them easily. The painting is loose and wet, I don't want a ton of dark pigments on my pages. I will use stencils in my preparation too, they add some interesting elements to each page.
The structure of my journals started out to be based on Teesha Moore's one sheet journal - you can check out her YouTube video here. I have varied my approach over the years I've been making these, this time I tore my parent sheet of paper into much smaller sections because I knew I 
wanted four 'purse size' journals. 
Honestly, for me, making the journal is half the fun, the the freedom of painting without worrying about composition is a special journey of its own.
 
Once we got to Italy, I started collecting paper items to glue into the journal - brochures, tickets, notes, that sort of thing. I use this as an excuse to pick up all those glossy pamphlets and publicity materials I encounter along the way! 
And a map - I love to include a map. I try to work in the journal a little bit each day, normally gluing and writing in the evening or early morning. I don't want to forget the stories we encounter.  Train rides are also a great time to journal, I used the ride from Naples to Florence that way.
 I carry a few small stencils with me that I use to embellish the pages. As far as paint, I stick with either watercolors or Derwent Inktense pencils.  Add a glue stick, scissors, tiny container of gesso and cosmetic sponge (for stencil application) and I am good to go. 
I have found these journals to be terrific on many levels. 
First of all, they allow me to make some art while I am on the road. I am a little bit shy about  sketching (oh how I envy Jane LaFazio for her skill!) and the idea of sitting outdoors doing plein aire art scares me a wee bit. 
Second, making a tiny scrapbook/art journal is an adventure. Finding the elements is always fun and it fulfills my pack rat tendencies, this hunting and gathering for material.
Finally, and this is the best reason (!), the journals create a record of the trip. When reviewed years later, they summon up all the memories as if they had just occurred.  There is something so tactile about journals they can put me right back in the moment. And that is pretty delightful.  
So, next time you make a journey, consider carrying a small travel journal with you. I think you will find it to be a lot of fun.
Ciao Bella!!

13 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this! It is an idea I can really get behind since I am also shy about sketching in public and and a travel pack rat. These little travel journals sound like the answer!

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    1. Yes, Valerie, it is fun and easy!! Thanks for commenting.

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  2. What a great idea! I will have to try this for an upcoming trip to Peru.

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    1. OH!!! I confess to a little Peru envy, that is a bucket list destination for me. :)

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  3. So inspiring, Mary Beth! What a creative way to preserve memories of travel! Beautifully done!

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  4. Such a wonderful journal you have that allowed you to create while traveling and give you such a treasure to remember the trip with!

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  5. ah, thanks for the kind mention, dear Mary Beth. Love your journals! I've watched that video, but have I made one of those cool journals, no. I will now!!

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    1. Jane, you are so welcome, I admire your confidence with drawing.

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  6. This is wonderful! I love how you prepared your journals before your adventure, Mary Beth. You gave me inspiration for my next trip!

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  7. Congratulations, your blog is appealing and informative. Going through your Information, I found quite a few new ideas to implement being shy myself !

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  8. After reading this I feeling like sketching the beauty of Italy. You have made me inspired to sketch anything in front of me. Thanks for sharing the journals.

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