Monday, October 26, 2020

Fall Road Trip Sketchbook - Part 2

My last post was all about our trip to the Delaware shore, but there's more to the story. After four days in Cape Henlopen, we hooked up the camper and hit the road, headed for a park in Virginia that overlooks the Potomac River. 

All sketches done in a 5" x 8" Pentalic Aqua Journal

The drive turned out to be a lot longer than I had expected, but we made it to Westmoreland State Park in time to go for a blustery walk along the river before the sun set. The Potomac at that spot is so wide that you can barely see the other side. It's 6-7 miles across and feels more like a huge lake than a river.


The next day we spent the morning just hanging out at our spacious campsite in the woods. I finished up some sketches...


while Fred worked on an airplane model he had brought along (something he never has time for at home).


Then we packed a lunch and took off for a walk through the woods,


up and down hills, 


finding interesting things along the way,



until we finally arrived at Fossil Beach, where the rock formations are absolutely loaded with fossils, and shark's teeth are readily found in the sand along the shore.


(Click here for a larger image)

After we ate our lunch, I whipped out my sketchbook and dashed off a drawing of the broad cove framed by cliffs at both ends.

Then it was time to head back up the mountain. We stopped along the way to take a rare selfie of the two of us...

It was such a fun day, and as I thought back over our walk later, I realized how uneventful it was in many ways, but how truly special it was, too. Just getting out in the woods together, talking, laughing, and seeing new things - it's those shared experiences that create lasting memories. 

I decided this walk deserved to be commemorated...every detail of it! So, I created this:


(Click here for a larger image)

It captures the day perfectly with its bright colors and simple drawings. I love it!

The next morning, it was time to head home to Pennsylvania. It had felt like summer all week, but as we drove into the Virginia mountains, we started to see more and more red, orange, and yellow on the hillsides. The day was overcast, but the autumn color was still spectacular.


We took a wrong turn somewhere along the way and ended up on Route 50 in West Virginia, a road that's famous for its steep inclines, hairpin turns, and serpentine route. I'm sure Fred was silently blaming the navigator (moi!), but, to his credit, he never said a word of rebuke as he drove up, down, and around mountains hour after hour.


We finally made it back to good old Prosperity, PA, and Buckley was there to greet us with all the exuberance of a puppy. 


Even though I love going away, it's always good to be home again. 


Thanks for following along! Check out this video of my Fall Road Trip 2020 Sketchbook...

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Fall Road Trip Sketchbook - Part 1

Fred and I loaded up our camper trailer in early October and hit the road, headed for points east. 

All sketches done in a 5" x 8" Pentalic Aqua Journal

We ran away to Cape Henlopen State Park near Lewes, Delaware, and spent four days with no work, no TV, and best of all, no politics! 


Cape Henlopen has beaches on both the Delaware Bay and the Atlantic, so we got to enjoy the crashing waves on the ocean side and beautiful sunsets on the bay side.


The park was originally a military installation used to defend and protect the Delaware Bay during WW II and the Cold War, and there are historical markers and displays throughout the park that tell the story of Fort Miles. The base closed in the 1940s and was then used for decades as a recreation facility for military families.


Observation towers from WW II and the Cold War still stand at Cape Henlopen

I remember going to Fort Miles when I was home from college one summer in the '70s. My dad was in the Air Force, stationed at Fort Meade, MD, and it was just a short jaunt from there to Fort Miles. Our family spent a week there, body-surfing for hours each day, slathering ourselves with baby oil to get tan, and just being together on long summer days when the sun doesn't set until after 9. Those were happy times.  

Lighthouse in Delaware Bay (click to enlarge)

Fred and I made our own happy memories, too, on this trip to Fort Miles. We really enjoyed being able to get away from home, have a change of scenery, but still feel like we weren't putting ourselves at risk during the pandemic.

Fred enjoys cooking breakfast outdoors (mmm, bacon!) when we're camping

We took advantage of the bike trail that winds through the park for miles along the bay and out to the ocean, passing through sand dunes and pine woods along the way. 


We took time to sit on the beach and watch the waves roll in, read a book, and sit around the campfire.



We walked around the nearby town of Lewes, which is really cute, with nice shops, cafes (with outdoor seating), and immaculately maintained Victorian homes.



We had plans to do a lot of kayaking while we were there, 

It was so peaceful and pretty, while it lasted!

but our one trip out on the water ended abruptly when I was walloped by an attack of vertigo when I was paddling in the middle of a canal. Scariest thing ever!


I recovered enough that afternoon to go to the beach and try my hand at sketching seagulls from life. 


Just before sunset, I headed off into the dunes with my sketch kit. Sitting all alone with my sketchbook on my lap, drawing, painting, and really seeing my surroundings, I felt so lucky to have the opportunity to be there, to travel, to see new places despite current circumstances. 


I used to roam the streets of Paris and Barcelona, and hike the hills of Tuscany. I sketched the Greek Isles, Provence, Croatia, and Ireland, but right now, a state park in Delaware gives me almost as much pleasure as those amazing places did.


The weather was perfect every day, and it was so nice to feel carefree, with all the time in the world to draw and paint...or do absolutely nothing!

Fred said to tell you that he was meditating, not napping. 

I taught myself a new lettering style called Mathilde that I can use for journaling. It has a jaunty, casual look that I like.


It's challenging doing long text passages like the ones in this journal when you're retraining your brain to write a certain way. I can feel the mental strain of forcing myself out of long-held routines, but I think it's worth the effort, to have another lettering style option at my fingertips.


I used QOR watercolors for all of the sketches in this travel journal. I enjoy the richness of the QOR paints - when they hit a wet page, the color explodes on the paper and flows like crazy. There's a learning curve with them, because they move and combine differently than traditional paints, but I'm having fun using them to paint sketches that burst with color.   

We had such a good time at Cape Henlopen that we've already booked a campsite for next fall. There was so much more to do in the area that we just didn't have time for this year.  

Let's just hope that next year I'll be able to kayak without things getting crazy!


But wait, there's more!

Part 2 of my Fall Road Trip Sketchbook will be coming up tomorrow. 
Here's a sketchbook flip preview:




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