Monday, May 20, 2013

Sketchbook Journeys: Italy - Days 1 & 2 (The flight over + our canine companions)

A sketching trip to Italy - what a dream come true! I left Pittsburgh, PA, at 4:00 in the afternoon on April 2 and watched the sun rise the next morning over the Swiss Alps. I'd wished for this for years, and I almost had to pinch myself to believe I was actually on my way to Venice!

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

I had hardly sketched at all for almost two months prior to the trip, despite having every intention of practicing and loosening up before I left. But as soon as I settled into my seat on the plane, it was like someone had fired the starting gun at the beginning of a race and said, "Start sketching! What are you waiting for?!" The adventure had begun. It was time to dive in and do what I'd been saying I was going to do... draw!

We flew across the full width of Pennsylvania. The land was just beginning to show hints of the luscious spring green that we've been waiting for all winter.

The sun was low in the sky as I flew into New York, and the Manhattan skyline looked all dreamy and soft, silhouetted against the distant hills. I sketched this in the 30 seconds it took to fly past as we made our approach into LaGuardia (and painted it later at home.)

At JFK, I met up with my friend, Suzie Althens, who had flown all the way from Anchorage, Alaska, and before we knew it, we were on our way to Italy! Try as I might, I can never sleep on airplanes, so I got to enjoy the view from 36,000 feet above the Atlantic... a deep indigo blue night sky with millions of stars, a waning crescent moon, and a beautiful rainbow-colored sunrise. 

My friend, Ann, picked us up at the airport in Venice and we headed to her house to meet our housemates for the week... Aspen and Bailey.

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

Aspen was a mellow, laid-back golden retriever/collie mix with a sweet disposition. Her only flaw...she snores!

Her buddy, Bailey, a little spaniel mix, was a bit shy, but with lots of petting and encouragement, he warmed up to us.

It was so nice to have a home to stay in while we were in the Vicenza area. Sleeping in the same bed every night and having a fully stocked kitchen at our disposal made for a relaxing stay and helped ease the inevitable stresses of travel.

Coming up next: Eating our way through northern Italy...YUM!


  1. It sounds like you had a great time, Leslie, and those doggy sketches are so sweet! :)

  2. I just backed up to find this page. What great sketches you have to remind you of the beginning of your trip and your excitement and anticipation. Charming sketches!!!


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