As I am off again in a couple of weeks I have been thinking a lot about travel sketching. And panicking. I am travelling with a friend who is not a sketcher, and I know I am not ruthless enough to impose sketching upon her (except sometimes). Last time I went to Europe I was in third year at art school but I wasn’t ‘a sketcher’. I took a little A5 spiral bound sketchbook and much to my surprise I filled it.
I started off by taking notes at the galleries I went to, just as I did at home. Tyler Print Institute, Singapore was the first one. All my notes came in very handy, as they were reference material for writing essays and reviews back at art school. After that I was staying with relatives in Switzerland, though we went to Barcelona and also to Italy. The first sketch here is from memory, of vineyards seen from the train on the side of a hill near Lausanne. The second was done on a hot day in Fiesole near Florence. Both these sketches were later turned into acrylic paintings on canvas. The Vineyards one was quite large and sold immediately.
In Basel, we came upon a Schwitters and Arp exhibition at the Kunstmuseum. I was inspired. From then on I made small collages in my sketchbook with the bits and pieces I picked up along the way. So I show you a ‘Bologna Schwitters’ and a ‘Gaudi Schwitters’.
So, though I doubt that I will be taking notes at exhibitions, I do plan to collage again. I do hope to fill my sketchbook…even if it is just collage and bullet points about my experiences. I learnt in Bali that I also need to spend time soaking up the scene and enjoying being there (even though I have been to Bali so many times.) I was looking at the Italian sketchbook of another artist, Leslie Fehling, and I do encourage you to read this post she has written about travel sketching. While you are there, have a look at her wonderful watercolours of Italy. I do so agree with her that sketching should not be an obligation.
I do have a strategy to help me get some stuff in my book. I don’t think I have the discipline to do more than finishing off and tidying up when I get home, so I am doing some preparation now. I’ll tell you about it in another post.