Why the Dordogne?
“My European Ritual” is an article featuring work by 9 writers that talk about returning to the same place while traveling. The sense of familiarity that emerges from revisiting a place is something everyone can relate to. Everyone has places they frequent over time based on their life’s design. Sometimes these are little things, some are significant, but they are what make up our lives.
I am often asked if Sketchy Tours always goes to the same place every year. True, to date we have always returned to the Dordogne region of France, the heart of which is about an hour and a half east from the Bordeaux airport. From it’s geographical history through the cultural history of the Perigord, this region is a source of inspiration to me.
The Dordogne and Aquitaine region has sustained life since the ice age allowed access to the shoreline and river valleys. Great parts of this history have been chronicled and remain critical points of reference for civilization. From caves to contemporary art, there is evidence of this entire time line where ever you go. To witness this connection with time, and sketch the evidence, provides a profound connection to humanity and an integrated sense of all life on earth. The current inhabitants are not free from worry, but you could say that France itself is the definition of a sustainable culture. All you have to do is look at regional cuisine to realize this is the case. Local recipes are constructed from local foods. There is no “food off a truck” which often defines cuisine in the United States. I return home from the Dordogne feeling healthier than when I left. I never tire of that feeling. That’s why I return.
Sketching has been used for documentation of travel for as long as travel has been possible. It was during the tradition of Grand Tours that the art of sketching developed into a method of recording personal experience and story telling. Filling a sketchbook with scribbles and masterpieces from your own observations is the best souvenir Sketchy Tours can hope to send you home with.
Mastering Sketching by Judy Martin present an inspiring survey of sketching and color techniques for the Sketchy Tours integration of travel and art. It can be used as a series of straight forward lesson plan activities, but it is best used as a way to see into a wide range of approaches that can be easily incorporated into travel. A novice will enjoy the examples and descriptions for the use of materials and variety of styles to choose from and an experienced artist will enjoy the clear language used to communicate processes and effects. It's a great reference book to learn new ways to achieve artistic effects or confirm your ideas to combine elements for capturing a view, a structure, or a figure.
Some people like to explore art on their own, some like a published inventory of proven procedures, and most of us like a combination of things to incorporate into our inspiration. Mastering Sketching is filled with appealing examples and quality information to use before your trip or while you're traveling. Mastering Sketching is a highly recommended tool for any sketch artist.
It doesn’t matter what we’ve experienced – whether it’s the breathtaking scope of the Grand Canyon, the ethereal beauty of the Aurora Borealis, or the exhilarating view from the top of the Eiffel Tower – at some point in our lives we’ve all had the feeling of being in a complete and overwhelming sense of awe.
Awe seems to be a universal emotion, but it has been largely neglected by scientists—until now.
Psychological scientists Melanie Rudd and Jennifer Aaker of Stanford University Graduate School of Business and Kathleen Vohs of the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management devised a way to study this feeling of awe in the laboratory. Across three different experiments, they found that jaw-dropping moments made participants feel like they had more time available and made them more patient, less materialistic, and more willing to volunteer time to help others.
The researchers found that the effects that awe has on decision-making and well-being can be explained by awe’s ability to actually change our subjective experience of time by slowing it down. Experiences of awe help to brings us into the present moment which, in turn, adjusts our perception of time, influences our decisions, and makes life feel more satisfying than it would otherwise.
Now that’s awesome.
The study, “Awe Expands People’s Perception of Time, Alters Decision Making, and Enhances Well-Being,” will be published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
This post is a Press Release from the Association for Psychological Science and can be found on their website at their website address by clicking here: http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/releases/being-in-awe-can-expand-time-and-enhance-well-being.html
Where are all my new art friends? The tour is over and I don't see them every day. I can only hope that everyone's sketching after breakfast, while waiting for a meal, in the park, in town, in the back yard, or whenever there's time.
We should have an art show of our favorite sketches.
That was fun.
Marianne, Beth and Chaucer are in Bozeman making final preparations to receive guests in Bordeaux in a week! We'll keep you posted, see you there.
The Chateau for the 2012 Sketchy Art and Culture Tour is located in a walnut grove. It may only seem fitting to consider working with walnut ink, finely pigmented rich sepia colored water-based ink. It's great for all kinds of drawings and works well with a brush or dip pen.
In washes Walnut Ink handles like a watercolor, with good layering and lifting capabilities. The rich color resembles traditional walnut-based inks, but will not fade. The warm character of walnut ink is reminiscent of drawings by Rembrandt and Vincent van Gogh.
You can use walnut ink with ink pens, brushes, or any kind of ink or wash handling tools.
You can click on the image for a product link.
Cell Phones in Europe
The mobile phone has made it's way into our lives for a number of reasons. If you have a solution for cell phone access for your vacation to France you would recommend, or not recommend, I think lots of people would be interested in hearing about it in the comments to this post.
I found this site that has longer explanations of the following options. Click here to see the entire article. If you want a cell phone in Europe, you have these options:
_Firstly, there is no reason to bring more materials than you can carry unless you have a commitment to a medium(s) you already work in. This is how you’ll know how much to bring and when you have too much. There is no reason to bring a trunk of art supplies unless you have specific plans to use them. For example, I have a studio filled with materials but I’m not going to bring it all with me. The main emphasis here is to decide what you will actually use. There’s nothing worse than getting home and realizing that you never touched a box of art supplies. As you read my recommendations keep in mind how you work, what materials you like and how you might use my process to create an expanded list of materials for yourself to lug around.
Unless I have a chance to live somewhere for a few months and work on a specific project this is the most I’d bring on a one to two week “vacation”:
· A set of pens, pencils, and marking tools to select from for any given situation.
· A small notebook and a larger notebook to have with me at all times.
· A large notebook or watercolor block for use on an outing specifically to paint or draw.
· A watercolor palate with paint from tubes I created at home and a small selection of brushes for use in the field or at local accommodation.
· A bag or container to hold these items makes it easier to pack, transport locally, use in the course of a day, and bring work home.
At Sketchy Art and Culture Tours we’re more interested in capturing information and incorporating the recording of concepts you want to remember or use than completing a polished masterpiece on site. If we can create a masterpiece of a sketch while traveling and moving through a place or a region then we’ve accomplished our aims and contributed to our lives as artists and observers. The quality of content is in the experience and the way we travel, document and incorporate the intention of these activities into our lives as artists, travelers, and observers interpreting the world.
Working in these terms means working with any rough or unfinished version of any creative work. It speaks to the cultivation of the role of intention in creative work through capturing the essence of something, the use and composition of meaning, and the incorporation of these values into life through art. It’s a fantastic conversation. In this light, the quantity of art materials is not really important. It’s the quality. These days I bring the smallest kit of materials possible to accomplish these aims. I can develop larger, more complete works in the studio but not without the content and inspiration I find through traveling. I like line, I like color, and I like my materials to hold up over time.
You can click on these images for links to product descriptions.
Medium Art Kit Recommendation
_ This review is for a medium size art kit and notebook, with pens, and a small travel size watercolor kit. These materials are suitable for artists interested in working on developing greater content in small landscapes and studies. This kit is easy to carry in a small bag, pack, or briefcase with other items you might travel with, and has archival qualities you would expect in a piece of art. These links are to an art supply store called Daniel Smith. Other art supply shops have these items as well. If you choose to mail order from Daniel Smith you can receive a 20% discount through the link on the Sketchy Tours website.
This notebook is larger than the pocket size and is made of watercolor paper. There are a number of sizes and types of paper available in the Moleskine line of notebooks. I like these because they pack small and they live well on a bookshelf when they’re full, easily accessed for travel and at home.
The Sakura micron pens described in the small art supply kit are a great way to capture a number of sketches quickly on site and won’t smudge when working with watercolors either on site or at a later time.
Most watercolor kits come with a small travel brush which works well for small notebooks and washes. As you fill notebooks you might recognize a need for another small travel brush or two. You’ll find travel brushes in art supply stores and online. I typically have a nicer travel brush with a fine tip but long bristles to do a range of things as well as a larger mop, or wash brush for covering larger areas. It’s fun to buy these brushes while traveling and in a store where you can see the brush to make your selection. The Magasin Sennelier is an art supply store in Paris with a few locations and a website for such a purchase.
Moleskine Large Watercolor Book, 200gsm Cold Press, 5-1/4" x 8-1/4", 72 Pages
The legendary notebook of Hemingway and Matisse
The Moleskine Watercolor Notebooks offer all the characteristics of the sketchbooks except the thick warm-white paper is sized for watercolor use and the 25% cotton fiber paper has a cold press finish. Notebook secures with an elastic band and has an expandable inner pocket.
Sakura Pigma Micron Pens
Acid-free and archival, Pigma Micron Ink Pens are ideal for papercrafts, journals, illustration, crafts, or any application requiring precision and permanence.
Unlike dye-based ink found in most pens and markers, Pigma ink will not feather or bleed, even through the thinnest paper. Pigma ink is derived from a single pigment to ensure color consistency, and is fadeproof against sunlight or UV light. Pigma inks will not clog or dry out like most mechanical pens.
Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolor Compact Set
This pocket-sized lightweight box is ideal for the outdoor artist.
The set includes:
Why wouldn't you want to go to France? History, art, food, wine, what else is there?