Now that I have my travel kit packed, how do I use it?
My goal is to record impressions for myself, not to produce finished art. What I remember most about my trips are the times when I stood still long enough to focus on something, absorb the sensory input, and process it through my fingers onto the page. I also take photographs, but they don’t have the same impact. In fact, sometimes I look at a photo and wonder why I took it, but I always know what attracted me to a journal entry.
Years ago, I took Margaret Hoybach’s journaling workshop. She talked about how to work when you’re in a tour group with non-painters. You may have only a few minutes to draw while everyone else is snapping photos.
In that case, I carry only part of my kit. Journal, pencil, pen, possibly watercolor crayons. Dry media only, no water. I make a small drawing about the size of a photo (4×6 inches), leaving white space around it on the page. A few lines establish the horizon and major design elements. In the margins, I make notes on color, weather, smells, sounds, and texture. This is an exercise of 5 minutes or less. I do more than one if I have time. How much can I capture before someone yells “back on the bus!”?
Later when we stop for lunch, or have a few quiet moments in the hotel, I add color with paint and details with black ink. I also add tickets and other bits of paper with the glue stick. If I do it the same day while the memory is fresh, I will retain the important information and eliminate unnecessary details.