Susan Brubaker Knapp here. The theme for August is JOURNEYS.
I love to travel. Travel changes you. It opens up your eyes and your mind to the amazing places, art, food, views and people in the world. It changes how you think about your life, your passions, your culture, your values. “Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights,” wrote author Miriam Beard. “It is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”
And – important to artists – travel is a visual feast.
I caught the travel bug when I was young, because my parents took our family on vacation – in the trusty family station wagon – all across the country and back again. Twice. We tent camped in National Parks, mostly, but stayed in a motel every so often so we could bathe, do our laundry, and swim in a pool.
When I was in high school, my best friend and her family were transferred to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and I saved up all my babysitting money so that I could visit her after I graduated from high school. It was an amazing trip. I flew alone – at age 17 – to Rio, and stayed with my friend’s family for about a month. This is me in June 1981 (on the right) with Kristen, drinking from a coconut on the beach near Rio!
In college, I spent my junior year at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. This is me in 1983, in my school gown, on the pier, with the ruins of the cathedral and castle in the background.
I traveled over a lot of Scotland that year; here I am in front of Eileen Donan castle:
In the past two years, I have been extremely fortunate: I’ve been asked to teach at four different venues abroad. Last year, I traveled to teach fiber art classes in the Netherlands and South Africa. This year, I got to go to Australia and New Zealand. And I took a family vacation back to England and Scotland. Here are some of the photos I’ve taken on these trips that I’d love to use for future work:
|Street scene, Amsterdam, the Netherlands |
|Castle and moat, The Netherlands|
|Tulips and water reflection, The Netherlands|
|Windmill, The Netherlands|
|Lions in Kruger National Park, South Africa|
|Sunset in Kruger National Park, South Africa|
|Elephant in Kruger National Park, South Africa|
|Little Moreton Hall, Cheshire, England|
|Mow Cop Castle, Cheshire, England|
|Castle ruins, St. Andrews, Scotland|
|Gum tree in bloom, Melbourne, Australia|
|Flinder’s Street Station, Melbourne, Australia|
|Entrance to Luna Park, St. Kilda’s, Australia|
In the next month, I’m going to be sketching from some of my photos, and sharing my sketches with you.
Don’t forget to draw while you are on your way. I find that sketching on airplanes and trains is a great way to pass the time while you are in transit. I sometimes take along photographs to work from, but there is always inspiration around you in airports.
Another fun thing to do is to collect and collage travel materials, such as tickets, boarding passes, maps, and brochures. They make great backgrounds for journal pages.
Here is some inspiration to get you thinking:
Land, water, air
Beaches, mountains, deserts, lagoons
Buildings, structures or monuments
Country roads and busy highways
Planes, trains and automobiles, plus buses, ships, ferries…
Maps, tickets, passports
People: faces, native dress
Flora and fauna
P. S. You don’t have to sketch exotic trips, though... if your current journeys are taking you to the playground across town, or if you only take journeys in your imagination right now, you will find ample subject matter there, too. Have fun sketching this month. I’ll look forward to going where you take me!