Thursday, August 1, 2013

The theme for August is JOURNEYS

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

Sheep, Scotland

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
Maori carving, New Zealand
Aratiatia Rapids, New Zealand
Geothermal features, Rotorua, New Zealand
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:

Scenic views
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
Cultural influences
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!


  1. Susan, I love the August theme as I am a travel-bug, too! August will be a great time to play with this subject!

  2. This looks like a fun topic. It's nice to see your travels around the world.

    1. Thanks, Ann! I hope you have fun with the theme this month... I figured it would give people lots of freedom to explore.

  3. WOW - What a lot of incredible travel memories you have to draw from. I have never been abroad and not even had the opportunity to travel far in the UK, but I do love to look and read about the experiences of others and marvel at the variety of circumstances that take people where they go and what they do when they get there. What an exciting life you have had and still quite young too. Where are you off to next I wonder :0)

    1. While I love to travel, I'm actually very happy to be at home for a while, TwindleToes! I don't have any international travel planned, but in September, I'm off to Philadelphia, Cleveland and Fall River, Mass.

  4. Perfect theme for this month as many are taking vacations or summer jaunts!:)

  5. I think my "Homecoming" painting, with two people on a boat is perfect for this month's theme. What do you think? Would love to hear from you.

  6. Beautiful work, Lucy! I love your use of color.

  7. Journeys always gives me a sense of longing to move forward into new realms and new experiences. I am looking forward to exploring this theme :)

  8. Glad you are excited about the theme, Catherine!

  9. blogged about being inspired by my daughter's journeys and did a sketch inspired by one of her photos.

    1. Wow! You are a great mother to support your daughter's dreams. I love your sketch! I took some trips with my mother, and they are now wonderful memories of her... maybe next time Amber travels, you should go along!

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  11. Thanks for this challenge. I'm on an emotional journey, a difficult one. Won't bore you with the details, but your challenge has inspired me to do my first solo art journaling, and I've set up a separate blog to log my new art journaling journey. Here is the link I've not even sorted out the blog design or set-up yet, I just knew I had to do it! Crafty love to you all,Suz.


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