Monday, May 11, 2009

Home is Where the Art Is...uh Heart Is

One of my little collaged paintings
I am on the road tomorrow morning, early. I love beginning a long drive before the sun is fully up, then watching the sky change color as the morning sun emerges onto the landscape.

When I travel, I like to bring along a portable "art kit". I have one my friend Lois made for me. It is currently back at her shop for repair, so frequently have I traveled with it. That little bag, which has a top flap and measures, closed, probably 6" x 9", has been to Mexico six times, all over the west coast of Ireland, the beach in Florida half a dozen times, and numerous other places.

It holds a small watercolor paper block, paintbrushes with built in water containers, transfer pens, collage papers, drawing pencils, a small tin of watercolor crayons, small pair of scissors, a pencil sharpener, small pieces of fine sandpaper stapled to a piece of matboard, a wax resist crayon, small container of "yes!" glue, and several other things I can't remember without my list.
Oil pastel and watercolor collage, sketched while sitting on a beach in Mexico

Yes, I have a list. I teach a class called Trains, Planes and Automobiles: Techniques for Traveling Collage, so I really need to practice what I preach. Be prepared for art. Any place, anytime. I encourage my students to plan ahead for creative work while traveling, and to make a list of their favorite art supplies, so they can figure out a way to travel with at least some of them. As for me, I try not to go anywhere without a least a journal and some collage materials. I am a "found object" junkie. Often, bits of ephermera I find during my travels go directly onto a matboard collage surface, or into a composition in one of my journals.
My favorite journal, which is all but full, is one I handmade years ago. It has a hand bound Japanese stab stitch binding, is thick and full of a great weight cardstock. It is full of writings, collage, and on-the-fly experiments, like, what would happen if I iron this photo transfer onto that oil pastel covered photograph? Cool! It works!!
I covered the open spine with folded playing cards prior to stitching the covers in place. In addition to being colorful and pretty to look at, they serve as spacers for the journal pages. That way, when I want to add junk I find that has some dimension to is, it doesn't prevent the journal from still laying flat.

So these are my thoughts on this Monday, my birthday, as I plan for a road trip. Plan to make art this week!


  1. Well first off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! (I have had several drinks in your honor.....)
    Second, I love, love LOVE that first piece you posted----wonderful!
    I need to free up a bit with my work. Even my collage is a bit on the, shall we say, anal side of things? Controlled, perhaps is a nicer way of putting it.
    I have never been much of a journaler or sketchbook person (although I love to see those of other artists), but I can certainly see the benefit. I just have this awful short attention span...... ;)

  2. Thanks, Anne! I think all of us go through periods where we forget how to play. Sometimes we arrive there again out of sheer desperation!

  3. Happy Birthday, Gayle.

    I want your journal sketchbook. What a great idea to repurpose playing cards for spacer. I add so much stuff to mine that the spines are 1/2 to 1 inch thick and the opening is 3-4 inches and won't go back on the shelf or fit back into the suitcase. Where can I see a pic of your traveling kit?

  4. Hi Leslie,
    Oh, glad to hear you're inspired! I am in the process of having my website completely updated. Will post my classes and kits on there very soon.

  5. Road trip! Woohoo! Bring your journal in case baby E sports her "meat jello" outfit again;) And perhaps we can discuss more veezin inspirations for your new t-shirt line??

    p.s. meat jello just might be veezin...

  6. Happy Birthday! Hope your trip is full of beautiful experiences!

  7. Me again....go check my blog. ;)

  8. Happy Birthday...a little late but you are in my hearts songs for today! I do so love your collage works...I need to get more photos up to show what I am trying to do. This week the bomb hit in the reorganization of my space and now I have to find a way to put pieces back together. What a mess but at the same time I am walking down memory lane with old journals and letters and photos...etc. Have a great day! Mary Helen

  9. My travel journals are often some of the most precious memories I love to hold onto and close to my heart. I can close my eyes and step back into time when I was in another culture. country, and encircled by my global family members. Have a safe journey dear sister and I am anxious to hear about all your discoveries! You are so loved! Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

  10. I know exactly what you mean. I love my journals, too, and try to read through all of them from my entire life at least once each year. Helps me remember where I've been.