As the traveling sketchbook show heads to Melbourne, here are some of mine…

This is so cool!

A library in Brooklyn has amassed an enormous collection of sketchbooks — 7,500 from 130 countries — and their books are now traveling the world, currently in Chicago. They’re on a 14-city tour, ending in Melbourne.

I love every single thing about this:

sharing ideas globally

sharing one’s art with strangers

sharing the most private and intimate place to stash your drawings.

And they’re now collecting sketchbooks for the 2013 world tour. Jump in here!

I’ve sketched all over the world on my travels.

Here (gulp) are a few of what’s in one of my sketchbooks.

Les Halles, Paris

I spent the happiest year of my life, 1982-3, living and working out of Paris, on an eight-month journalism fellowship called Journalistes en Europe. We were chosen, 28 of us from 19 countries, ages 25 to 35, to live in Paris and travel all over Europe reporting. I got to know the Les Halles area, in the 1st. arondissement, well, as the CFPJ centre nearby was at Rue du Louvre. On one of my many later visits, alone on a frigid winter’s afternoon, I did this quick sketch with a sharpie. It’s still one of my favorites. (All these images are, in life,  4 by 6 inches.)

Le Loire Dans La Theiere

Here’s a pile of photos of the place to see what it’s really like! I did this one in colored pencil. This is a great tea-room in the Marais section of Paris. The name means The Dormouse in The Teapot, a reference from Alice in Wonderland. You’ll find it at 3 rue des Rosiers in the 4th. arondissement. Everywhere I travel, I seek out a cosy tearoom. Amusez-vous bien!

Freud’s Chair, London

Did you know that Sigmund Freud lived in London after fleeing the Nazis in his native Austria in 1938? And that you can visit his home, now a museum? I’ve been to London many times, and loved seeing his chair — which is battered brown leather — and the original psychoanalytic  couch, covered in an oriental rug, that his patients lay on. His family, a talented and eccentric bunch, has very much left their mark on British culture, from his grandson, legendary painter Lucian Freud to author and Financial Times columnist Susie Boyt, his great-grand-daughter who grew up desperately wanting to be Judy Garland. I did this quick sketch in pencil.

The paddock view, Castle Athenry, Co. Galway, Ireland

For a few years, my father owned a house built in 1789 in Galway, near the town of Athenry. It was one of the loveliest places I’ve ever been lucky enough to stay. This is a watercolor I did of the view from the kitchen into the stone-walled paddock behind the house. He sold it, sadly, and it’s now a nursing home.

Sydney Harbor, Australia.

In 1998 I was crazy enough to fly alone to Sydney — 20 hours from my home in New York — with the goal of writing a book about women sailors competing in a round-the-world race. It was an insane commitment of a ton of money and when I arrived they reneged on the deal! So it became a very costly, albeit lovely holiday I would never have dared embark on otherwise. I did this watercolor from the window of my hotel room. One of the things that intrigued me most about Sydney, which you can see here, were its corrugated metal roofs.

In 1994, I spent 21 days traveling Thailand, from very north to very south. This was a temple across the street (!) from the airport in the tiny, quiet, isolated town of Mae Hong Son, in the very northern corner, near near the border with Burma. The only sound you could hear after getting out of the airport — one strip — was the bells from this temple. I walked into town from the airport, a first, and felt I had arrived in heaven. This spot remains in my top five of the most beautiful spots I’ve ever visited.

Hope you enjoyed these!

14 thoughts on “As the traveling sketchbook show heads to Melbourne, here are some of mine…

  1. How lucky you were to have spent a year in Paris – living there (or even elsewhere in France) is on our list of life experiences.

    Your sketches are charming; I particularly like the the paddock scene you captured from your window perch!

    1. Paris is terrific — but I actually spent much of that year traveling; our fellowship required four 10-day reporting excursions, so I went all the way (on different trips) from Denmark to Istanbul as well.

      Glad you enjoyed the sketches. They bring back such memories!

  2. I can’t draw, but admire those who can. Thanks for posting yours and telling us about each one. Not sure I’ll catch the show, but it is an interesting project.

  3. Thanks…I used to spend many hours when I was in high school so I learned early. My Dad is also an artist (much better than I) so it’s something I was lucky enough to grow up around.

  4. I love these drawings. How wonderful to have a collection of beautiful images to document memorable moments in your life. I’m sure that sketch of Paris takes you right back to Les Halles. Living in Paris (or a train ride away) is on my life list. You’ve had some amazing adventures!

    1. Cool! Paris is one of my favorite cities….when I did that sketch in the 1980s the franc (pre-euro) was very strong (or the $ weak) and it was Feb. and bloody freezing! I still recall my cafe creme costing about $5 but soooooo worth it to get warm again!

  5. Sketchbooks in general are a fantastic phenomenon, and yours are completely lovely. (I do keep sketchbooks, but they have words in them, and diagrams, but no sketches.) Also, I enjoyed your story about Sydney, despite it not entirely working out for you. PS Whilst I don’t live in Sydney, but 2.5 hours drive south, I do have a house with a corrugated iron roof – it’s fantastic when it’s raining.

    1. I bet that sound is lovely and so distinctive. I find that roofs and roof designs are often quite the marker for a regional style…when you cross the Vermont border into Quebec (and change countries) you see this at once.

  6. onestreetshy

    I was JUST in Chicago and would have loved to see the collection! I’ll have to look it up and see where it lands next. Thanks for the info!

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