Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Arrivederci and Cheerio!

Tomorrow's the big day! I'll be flying off to Sicily to teach a week-long workshop near Marsala. On Saturday I'll be meeting my students in Palermo and heading off to our home for the week at Villa Salinara, an historic villa built in the 18th century. After the Sicily workshop, I'll catch a flight to London and take a train to the Cotswolds for a week of actual vacation. I've longed to see the Cotswolds for years, and this is one dream that's happily coming true for me (and my mom). I'm also checking out sketching spots, looking toward a possible 2020 sketching workshop there!

I decided to get a head start on my travel journal for this trip and was able to find time to complete five introductory pages. It feels good to have it started before I land on Italian soil.

I started a tradition with my last few travel journals of putting a quote on the second page (after the title page, which I usually design after the rest of the sketchbook is complete). I like this quote because it speaks of the internal changes that happen when I travel. I never return from a trip the same person I was when I left home.

Staedtler Stabilo pens & watercolor

I debated long and hard about which sketchbook to carry on this trip. I didn't want anything too large (takes longer to finish a page) or too small (not enough space for sketches + journaling). I finally settled on a spiral-bound 10" x 5-1/2" Bright White Kilimanjaro Paintbook filled with 140 lb. Kilimanjaro watercolor paper.


What's interesting about this sketchbook is that the pages alternate watercolor paper with 70 lb. sketch paper. I've been using the lighter weight 70 lb. pages to make notes about the materials I used for each sketch and the date the sketch was painted, but I also think they will come in handy for making notes throughout the day when I'm out and about in Italy and the UK. The lightweight pages also protect my finished sketches from rubbing against the facing watercolor paper. I've had issues in the past with ink and paint rubbing off on the facing page when I painted on both sides of the page in a travel journal. That won't be a problem this time.

The Kilimanjaro paper takes watercolor beautifully and the cold press texture doesn't seem to interfere with any of the pens I've tried on it so far.

Since I've never been to Sicily before, I wanted to learn more about it, so I first drew a map of the island to get an idea of where we'll be in relation to the rest of Italy and Europe.

Pitt Artist's Pen, size S, gel pens, & watercolor

I included a few geographic facts on the map page, but while I was Googling I found lots of other interesting tidbits about the country, so a "Fascinating Facts about Sicily" page was in order...

Pitt Artist's Pen, size S, & watercolor

Sicily's history goes back to the Paleolithic period and, because of its strategic location, it has been plundered, pillaged, conquered, and occupied by foreign powers for millennia. I condensed Sicily's turbulent history into one small sketchbook page to show the number of times the long-suffering Sicilians have had to deal with a change of power in their society.

Watercolor, Pitt Artist's Pen, size S, washi tape, gel pen, & collage

With a general (if somewhat superficial) understanding of Sicily under my belt, I decided to do one more sketch before zipping up my suitcase and heading out the door...

Pitt Artist's Pen, size S, Pigma Micron 01, gel pens, and watercolor

Yes, I fit all that and more into one 24" suitcase! (Art supplies are in my carry-on.) I'm ready to roll!

There's just one looming issue that might interfere with our travel plans tomorrow, and her name is FLORENCE. Yes, we're supposed to fly through Charlotte, NC, tomorrow afternoon. Yikes! But the forecast looks okay for our departure time, and we have contingency plans in place, so we should be okay. Wish me luck!

I'll be posting updates on Facebook and Instagram while I'm away. I hope you'll enjoy following along with our adventures.

Arrivederci and cheerio!

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