Glorious Vacation with Photos & Sketches

Every little vacation is better than the last. It really is.  I just returned from a 6-night vacation at Crown Point Beach Hotel in Tobago. The accommodation was wonderful as ever and I sketched my little heart out. Oh yes I did.

A few photos:


This is what my daily sketching set-up looked like on the balcony:


And these are some of my sketches:

I’m counting the days to return.

One Travelers Notebook for everything

I was born to write. No, not books. Like many, I’ve toyed with the idea and I have notebooks/journals cradling long-forgotten stories and computer files bearing imagined titles. I admit it though, I don’t have the discipline for the long road of writing a book. A collection of very short stories might be a better fit.

Anyway, books and stories aside, I’m a writer at heart, if only for the fact that I write stuff all the time, every day. Apart for regular journaling, I write to do lists, shopping lists, vacation packing lists, meal plans, quotes, you know, just the ordinary (and not so ordinary) everyday life stuff.

I think – I write. I see – I write. I feel – I write. Maybe I should add, I breathe – I write.

As an avid journaler for many years, I always had a special journal for depositing my thoughts, feelings and ideas and so on. Everything else went into other notebooks/journals and I’d be using several at a time – each for a particular topic, project, etc. .   When I bought my first TN,  it was difficult getting used to housing everything under one roof – so to speak. Nevertheless, I stuck with it and now I’m comfortable having one place to write it all down.

I bought a new travelers notebook recently (love the olive green colour)  and I put in four inserts: a weekly planner, a lined journal, a watercolour sketchbook and an envelope. I plan to include a zippered pocket. It has  everything I need, whether I am at home, planning meals, journaling, running errands, planning for vacation, on vacation,  at the doctor/dentist, church, shopping, everything and everywhere.

As I closed my TN this morning and was about to set it aside, Rita, my muse, whispered, “Sketch your TN?” So I did.

The leather is very soft very susceptible to the rigors of daily handling. At just about two-months in use and it already looks as if it has been on duty for a year and I like that.


My precious Travel Brushes

My short-handle brushes are my main, daily, go-to workhorses but I have “a thing” for travel brushes.  I keep a couple of them in my go-everywhere sketch kit, which lives in my bag and of course, I take a select few when I go on vacation.

Every now and then though, I like to play with my travel brushes. I lay them out, admire them, count them, acknowledge my obsession with no excuse or apology and whip up some sketches. So much fun!

These are my cherished travel brushes and just a few of the recent and not so recent sketches I’ve done with them.

I purchased my Silver Black Velvet Voyage Series (Synthetic & Squirrel hair blend) from Jerry’s Artarama but they are manufactured by the  Silver Brush Limited

Silver Black Velvet Voyage Series 2 – 8


Purchased on Amazon, these Escoda Versatil (synthetic fibers that mimic Kolinsky hair), Ultimo (Tendo Synthetic Squirrel hair)  and Reserva (Kolinsky-Tajmir Sable) travel brushes are made by Escoda in Spain.

Escoda Travel Brushes L-R Reserva #8 Ultimo #10  Versatil #12 Versatil #8 Versatil #4


Rosemary brushes are not cheap but this Rosemary R12 1/4″ Sable Blend Dagger from Rosemary & Company  proves its worth with every stroke. That point though!

Rosemary R12 1/4″ Sable Blend Dagger


Hmmmmm … I wonder what travel brush I’ll be adding to my collection next?

I did the Direct Watercolour Challenge

Okay, I’ve dabbled but always with a bit of fear that I couldn’t really do it. My attempts were still fun, interesting and quite satisfying really. Admittedly, there was/is a niggling desire to learn to sketch without pen or pencil – not every time/every day but on a fairly regular basis, so that it feels natural,  comfortable and confident enough to share.

So, Marc Taro Holmes, famed Canadian Urban Sketcher,  cast out the challenge for June – 30x30directwatercolor2018. That’s 30 days of painting directly with watercolour – no pen or pencil underdrawings. Hmmmm …..

At first, I thought – Nah, I’ve played with it, not in any consistent way of course, but I  couldn’t possibly….. Then I saw many of my fellow sketchers, touting their support for the challenge and even posting practice watercolour-only sketchers to prime themselves to hit the #30x30directwatecolor2018 road running. I jumped on that “practice wagon” and I was definitely in.

Daily sketching sessions, like my morning coffee – must have ’em to fill alive and energized. BUT no watercolour only for 30 days?

YAYYYY! I did it and discovered that it was/is addictive.  The first few days, I’d reach for my pen and then, a voice would say, “Hey girl, use your brush and watercolours” and gradually, I began picking up my brush first without thinking. Most of the other everyday  sketches I did during the month suffered the same fate – direct watercolour. I couldn’t help myself.

Oh my poor pens, they missed their part in the sketching process but I promised that I will return to them soon enough. Now I have to make an effort to use my pens because direct watercolour is all I think about when I open my sketchbook but I’m sure I will begin using them again, just not almost always for almost every sketch, as I did before. Besides, there are other ways to use my beloved fountain pens: adding more text to my sketches will give them a more art journal style. Oh wait, and there is my regular journaling, letters and other handwriting stuff. So, they will be used and enjoyed.

Anyway, these are some of the direct watercolour sketches I did for the June challenge:

The learning curve is steep but Gosh this was fun!