Wednesday, May 16, 2007


I went to the art store the other day and bought some tubes of water colors. I have been using this kid's tray of water colors and thought I should upgrade. I've been learning on my own on how to do water colors, working through some of the exercises in my collection of art books. It's been really fun. I went to the garden and brought in a rose and started drawing and painting. I decided I do better drawing and painting from seeing the real thing rather than from pictures or photographs. This means an added challenge; I need to continue traveling and bringing along my sketchbook and maybe my paints.
I recently acquired a book on travel by John Julian Norwich. It is actually an anthology of travel writing from the very earliest to more recent. It had some of the most amusing travel writing and the style, mostly of British travelers is so fun. Back in the days before the advent of cameras, they travel with sketchbooks and a whole lot of other things. There was no such thing as travel lightly. Some even bring along their own illustrators. I have a whole series of travel books by Amy Oakley written around the 1920's. Her husband was her illustrator and they traveled to the Pyrenees, Provence, Brittany and the French Alps. Her travel writing is so descriptive and delightful that each time I read them, I want to pack up my bag and go to the airport. His black and white renditions of the places they visited is so incredible that you don't need mega pixels digital camera photos. It sure beats the colorful photographic books that we have today. These are really old books that I acquired from I love her writing and his drawings. I've read them many times. They have been wonderful companions; friendly, non-judgmental and entertaining. I aspire to be like Amy Oakley. Here's a sample of a foreword written by her husband, 'Reader, thou who longest to escape the routine of a humdrum life, thou who yearnest for a realm of fancy, a domain where thou mayst wander unconstrained, amidst a pageantry of light and color, - crags bearing on their brows glistening diadems of ice; vales o'erflowing with romance; towns of medieval lure and folks arrayed as though of some long-vanished century- reader, come and forth together we shall fare into such a land that waits us. For in the Alpine region of fair France.......'

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