The Art of Journaling

A look Back ...

As I prepare for Greece, I had a look back through my old Travel Journals to see who among them still had room, whose pages were filled up and to remind myself of where I've been over these last few wonderful years. Teaching Painting Retreats over the last 12 years has hands down been some of my favourite time as an artist.   I admit, I got lost for a few hours as I strolled down memory lane flipping through their ink splattered pages. 

Some of my well loved, half used sketchbooks & journals.

The Tao of Slow…

One of my favourite things about travelling is the enjoyment of sitting down with a few pens and some paint.  My life is fast paced and in an age where everything is quick;  fast food, high speed internet, bullet trains, quick photo capture, even faster upload... often times we don't even remember all of the moments because we were so busy capturing them behind our phones and cameras. As (not just an artist, but as) a fully engaged participant in the word around me, the idea of giving myself permission to look around and feeeeeel my environment with ALL of my senses; wind in my hair, the taste of local wine on my tongue or even better - local dirt on my shoes  is heavenly... picking up a brush instead of a camera, allows my focus to shift and forces me to slow it down. Slow it aaaaaallll down.

Painting vs Photography

Photo: Theak Chhuom

Photo: Theak Chhuom

I love…and I mean looooove my Olympus OMD-EM5 (lightweight- vintage inspired Digital SLR)Much like photography, my focus when journaling is on capturing a time, place or moment. The difference is that with sketching, I can embellish and edit right on the spot.  Don't like the telephone pole?  Boom, gone! Want to move that charming ice-cream vendor closer to the Eiffel  Tower? So be it. 

Full sensorial experience

Often times, I write notes  (colours recorded, temperature, sounds, smells, vibe)  adding to the richness of my experience  making it more personal… these not only make it more personal but inform my  in home studio paintings.  Sometimes adding these little details save me where the camera or my memory might fail. (Sorry OMD!)

This type of documentation tells the tale of what was on the forefront of my mind and what caught my eye at that particular time of inspiration; The sweetness of the air influenced by a fragrant tree in bloom, or  hint of cappuccino brewing in the market square, or the saltiness of the ocean.

The distant sound of a fog horn, a sputtering car up a steep & narrow cobblestone street are the stills from the movie which is my life. These sketches  don;t have to be earth shattering in quality or in subject.

They can be as whimsical or as common "everyday" as you like. The smallest illustration can help  you to relax, engage, reflect, or even shake off feeling negative feelings.  You can sketch at your local diner, in your garden or you can be like Danny Gregory and eat your eggs and draw them too. 

My Secret Weapons...

I try to make my kit as portable as possible. My "go-to" brush is my Pocket Brush. A beautiful, pointed Pure Kolinsky Sable #8 in a metal, reversible case.   I also adore my little FLING, another handmade custom brush from my label. It's small but mighty! Great for textures in rendering trees, grass, old cobblestone, plaster walls, earthy lanes etc…  Of course, like many, I am also addicted to Moleskine. I even started my city's first Moleskine Club when I owned The Studio Cafe. For travel, I use this watercolor version - smooth enough for pen work, but heavyt enough for wet media. READ FULL LIST HERE

No Matter where your journey takes you, geographically, emotionally, spiritually, creating an artist's travel journal can be a very rich & personal memoir.  Studies show that drawing helps to reinforce memory & that connectivity in this day and age is priceless.

Have a peek at where I've been & where I'm going by checking out my Travel Blog.

Thanks for reading and as always,

Happy Painting!