Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Confessions of a would-be Travel Journaller

I confess!  When I  travel I always intend to draw and paint in my fabulously illustrated hand-made journal, showing all the places I visit and the meals I eat.  Reality often intervenes:  The tour guide gives me exactly 3 minutes to explore after he finishes talking....I start dinner with a lovely glass of wine, and suddenly, my sketching is a bit wobbly.  Or it's too dark to see what I'm eating, let alone draw it!
Undaunted, I take a photo!  Then, back at home, I can make the journal page at my leisure.
 Sometimes this approach actually results in a new approach.  Take this photo from the Rookery, a Chicago building designed by Burnham and Root in the late 19th century and renovated by a young Frank Lloyd Wright several decades later:

Mr. Wright clad the dark iron columns of the original building's atrium with white marble and added a gold leaf  pattern.  This is not what we tend to think of when we think of Wright's work but it did brighten the space considerably.  The tour guide did not allow us any time to linger after his brief talk, pointing out various features, so I took a photo.  When I got home, I considered drawing this detail, but I wanted a visual cue to remind me of the gold leaf, so I printed the photo at a size that would fit on my page.   Below, you can see part of the photo in the top half and the cut out area in the bottom.

I used an Xacto knife to cut out the pattern.  If I had planned to use this stencil again I would have printed on  card stock or a clear transparency sheet, but I only needed to use this once, and printed it on plain paper, which was much easier to cut than any other paper.  Laying the stencil on my page, I printed through it with a metallic gold stamp pad.  I was out of gold leaf, but if I'd had any on hand, I would have sponged the gold leaf adhesive through the stencil.  Note that I didn't bother cutting out the pattern on the entire photo, just enough to get one full repeat of the pattern.  That left a bit of space on the page for me to draw in the dark iron column inside the marble cladding.

One additional benefit of leaving some journalling to do after returning home:  I get to prolong the pleasure of the trip!