Saturday, February 15, 2014

Sketchbook Journeys - Italy: Day 11 (Yummy Tuscan Food)

Every time I paint a page that I really like, I get all excited and think, "Oooooh! This one is my favorite!" But then a few days later, I finish up another one that turns out better than I ever expected it to, and I think, "No, really, I think this one is my favorite!"

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

I can't pick just one! This page is definitely in the running though. Ah, the memories of all that delicious food! Eating gluten-free in Italy is no hardship - not when you can have yumminess like this:

rich, dark chocolate desserts...

tortas and cakes...

 seafood pasta sprinkled with aged Parmesan...

soft, creamy, locally-made mozzarella drizzled with fruity olive oil...

salty Parma ham, artisanal cheeses and fresh veggies drizzled with syrupy balsamic vinegar...

gluten-free rolls and pasta...

Prosecco and limoncello...

I never had a disappointing meal in two weeks of travel. Even the food we bought in the grocery stores was good.

Lettering how-to: Draw letter forms with permanent ink. Paint one color at the top of a letter and a different color at the bottom, allowing them to blend and merge where they meet. Keep the paint fairly concentrated, but wet enough to move and flow a bit.

Fitting everything in on this page was so much fun. Many of the little sketches were drawn in restaurants, before I ate my lunch or dinner. When I just couldn't wait to dive in, I snapped a photo to paint from later. I just love how the jaunty lettering and bright colors give this page such a happy feel.

You might wonder why I painted a weird spider-webby thing on this next page. If you read my journaling, you'll understand. Those circles are roundabouts - we went around or through about five hundred of them in ten days of driving!

The colors on this page didn't scan well; they're actually much less muddy looking in the original. I used a white gel pen for the center lines on the roads.

Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but in Siena it felt like there was one every fifty feet! So, to liven up this text page, I painted a background that will always remind me of the times we went round and round those crazy circles, trying to read signs in Italian, listening to a silly GPS that couldn't pronounce Italian street names, and trying to figure out which turn would send us where we wanted to go. Travel is always an adventure, isn't it?


  1. I love this page Leslie and I ADORE that selfie of yours! :-)

  2. LOVE all your journal pages and helpful sketching tips! Thanks for letting us travel along with you to Italy!

  3. Your sketches are very inspiring! Love them! Thanks for sharing

  4. Travel is always an adventure and this looks like a gastronomic one. I love the sketches of the food! My favorite Tuscan food was Pappardelle con Cinghiale (wide noodles with wild boar sauce).

  5. oh this all looks good enough to eat. :) Love your sketches and your handwriting. It really lends a charm to the whole thing.

  6. Thanks, everyone, for all your kind remarks. Love hearing from you all!

  7. I'm always amazed at how much detail you can incorporate on a page….each little vignette is a little work of art….just beautiful! I think you need to do an online class for all of us too far away to attend your local classes!

  8. These wonderful sketches make me very hungry!

  9. Sounds like the perfect trip to Italy...eating your way across the boot! And the seafood pasta in Cinque Terre really brought back memories!

  10. Love your journaling...wish I had done the same when traveling Italy a few years ago! Will do so going are an inspiration!


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