Saturday, October 25, 2014

Traveling Home & Sketchbook Photos

All vacations eventually come to an end, and this one finally did. I took my morning walk toward Fiumellate and on the way back stopped for bread and eggs for breakfast. I said goodbye to the owner of the grocery store who I probably saw every morning while we were there. lol After breakfast we packed up, left our apartment, and walked up to the Varenna Train Station. We thought we could catch the 11:37 train to Milan...but there wasn't one. Since we were already there I stayed put.

This is the Varenna station with my husband waiting with the luggage. He ended up going to a cafe down the road to have a cappuccino while I did a sketch. What else do you do when you have more than an hour to kill? lol

I sketched facing the other direction. This was done across the fold of the sketchbook.

We stayed overnight at the Sheraton Malpensa Hotel which is right at the airport. That way we didn't have to worry about getting to the airport...besides it had an indoor infinity swimming pool for me to enjoy. We were lucky we were so close because with everything that had been going on in the world, security was very tight. We were on the security line for nearly 1 3/4 hours and our plane was boarding when we got to the gate.

I like to end my trip sketchbooks with a sketch done at the airport, but in this case I did a sketch on the plane when they were coming through with the beverage cart. We were both ready for a glass or two of wine after being on line for so long.

That is the end of my trip! I hope you have enjoyed traveling with me.

One of my blogging friends, Tina Koyama (her blog is in my list on the right) asked me to show photos of my handmade sketchbook. She makes great ones (coptic stitched) and has show how to do those on her blog. Mine isn't quite so fancy and it wasn't easy to take photos of it because you have to stretch it out and then it is just a narrow photo. I used cardboard pieces covered with scrapbooking paper for the cover. I did the front in a black print and the back is solid black. That way I can tell the front from the back. You can also see I put a little white square in the top right corner so I could tell which way to open it.

The cover got quite beat up putting it in and out of my backpack so much. I used a full sheet of Arches 140 lb paper that I cut into 4 long strips. I folded each strip into 4 pieces and joined them together with small pieces of watercolor paper that I glued to the two sections being joined. It is a concertina, or accordion sketchbook. I had 16 pages going in one direction and then 16 pages in the back when you turn the book over. Here is how it looks open to a few pages at the beginning.

And here is the entire front side of the book stretched out on my couch. I did make sure all my sketches were going in the same direction as I was doing them.

Although I do love Arches paper for painting, it is not the best paper to use in a book that has folded pages because it starts to crack along the folds. You can see what I mean in the sketch of the train station above. I will have to experiment with other brands of watercolor paper to see which brands fold better. I'm also not sure if the next time I will use both sides of the paper or not. 


  1. SO many wonderful memories in the sketchbook, Joan.. A lifetime of smiles... especially meeting your sketch on the plane.!!!

  2. Thanks for taking us with you on your fantastic trip, Joan! And thanks so much for sharing your handmade sketchbook! What a great idea to use different papers on the covers so you know which way it goes! Love it!

  3. I know I haven't commented on all your journey, but have loved seeing your sketches and travels.

  4. I've so enjoyed your trip with you, Joan. Both of your last two days' of sketches are amazing and I love that you've shared photos too.

  5. I have enjoyed following along Joan! It is beautiful to see your sketchbook open, great work!!!
    By the way, I'm waiting to use the Arches paper on something special. I will let you know how it goes.

  6. What a great travel journal for a keepsake! You are amazing at keeping it all going. Beautiful work, thanks for taking us on your journey.

  7. I so enjoyed your holiday vicariously Joan. I appreciated all the time you took to post all your paintings and photos so beautifully. Your sketches are just amazing and the quantity is inspirational! You will have such wonderful memories for the rest of your life!