Friday, February 14, 2014

Sketchbook Journeys - Italy: Day 11 (Tuscany...finally!)

Warm sunshine, rolling hills, olive groves, and cypress trees - where else could we be but Tuscany?  Everywhere I looked, it was prettier than a calendar picture! I started sketching as soon as we checked into our B&B near Siena. Our villa overlooked the idyllic scene that I sketched on the upper half of this journal page.

10" x 7", ink & watercolor in Stillman & Birn Beta series sketchbook

The scene on the lower half is one that I painted the next day when we took a drive through the countryside near Asciano, south of Siena.

There were lovely old villas and castles on hilltops...


Each home was surrounded by orchards, gardens, and olive groves...


The vibrant yellow-green of the new spring grass was made even prettier by masses of bright yellow wildflowers...


The rugged Apennine Mountains were a hazy blue-grey on the distant horizon.


I wanted to see every corner of Tuscany, but I only had a few short days! It was tempting to feel shortchanged, to regret that I couldn't see it ALL, but, instead, I focused on soaking up as much as I possibly could while repeating this mantra in my head... "I'll be back! Somehow...some way...I'll come back!"

To give myself a visual reminder of the towns we visited in Tuscany, I added a map page to my journal.


All the roads we traveled are in black, with the larger highways indicated by heavier lines. The squiggly narrow lines are the windy little back roads where we enjoyed the best views of the gorgeous Tuscan countryside.

Lettering was drawn with a blue gel pen, then filled in with gold metallic gel pen

Coming up soon...more sketches of beautiful Tuscany!


16 comments:

  1. Love everyone of those sketches, Tuscany is Somewhere I really want to visit.

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    1. Oh, I hope you get a chance to go some day. It was absolutely gorgeous - so much prettier than I had even imagined.

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  2. I love the way you design your lovely journal pages, wish I could be so disciplined! And yes I want to go there too, your journey could be a very useful starting point for pllanning. Thank you,Leslie.

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    1. I think we need to all plan a sketching trip to Tuscany!

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  3. Love all your sketches, Leslie! Never been in Tuscany but know I have an idea...

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    1. Make it happen, Willy! It's worth all the hassle of travel to see such awesome beauty.

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  4. Following your blog allows me to relive time spent in Italy. It also motivates me to try painting again. Your work reminds me that less is more!

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    1. Pick up a pen and brush and get started, Patricia. It's not so scary once you start drawing. Don't fuss over things - just have fun. It's never too late to begin! :)

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  5. I am enjoying your journal and illustrations very much and look forward to receiving more! I'm also very inspired and plan to take a journaling workshop here in Florida in a couple of weeks! Can't wait to get started...even though I don't have a trip planned.

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    1. I hope your upcoming class will help you get started, Loretta. You'll love sketching your everyday life, and it will be great practice for the next time you travel. Some of my favorite sketches are the ones that are "slices of life", everyday things that take on new meaning when we take the time to draw or paint them.

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  6. Even your map page is color coordinated! Your sketchbook is a joy to see!!

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  7. I think Tuscany is my favorite place of all ever since reading about Under the Tuscan sun.. the books. and seeing the movie. I love your map of where it is located. Your work is so thorough... as well as charming and lovely and wonderful. :)

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  8. If I didn't document all these things, I'd have forgotten most of it already. It's very comforting to me to have it all down on paper. And I like to think I'm writing the story of my life, one sketch at a time.

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    1. but do you write it down on something else and then do it nice later? Your handwriting is beautiful. in a hurry mine is usually a mess. :)

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    2. I jot down notes during the day in a small notebook that I carry in my purse or backpack, then write the travelogue in a more complete and neater form in my sketchbook that evening.

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  9. That's a great idea to get it written down somewhere. By the time I get home, I usually can't remember half of what I've seen! We went through Tuscany on our trip about 20 years ago and it was just gorgeous. I wish we could've spent some time there but we were just passing through on our way to Rome.

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