Wednesday, July 4, 2018

More Lyon: A Page from my Travel Journal

The frustration involved in sketching this page -- which I'm now quite pleased with -- doesn't show, unless you notice the murky marks of erasure, the dirt that's adhered to hand oils after too much handling. . . . But I remember beginning with, then rejecting several subjects as too difficult or not of proper scale. Paul was with me, ready just to sit and read wherever I decided to settle in to some sketching, but I was beginning to find his presence a bit of a weight. A weight onto which I was projecting some judgemental inner voices. . . .

Eventually, though, instead of simply getting cross and giving up, I made myself sit on a bench in a green space not far from our AirBnB rental. I can't tell you how many times I began and erased, drew and erased, eye-pencil-measured and marked, then erased. But finally, I gave myself some credit for getting enough details that I could recognize lamp-post as lamp-post and I forgave myself for proportions that weren't accurate.

Next, I added that window, taken from a building across the road in the adjoining block -- I was trying, here, to find something that would speak to me later, bring me back to that bench, but I also wanted to address a composition error I'd made by too quickly adding the text without thinking about placement. Afterward, back in the apartment, I drew in the woman whose elegant figure had compelled me to snap her photo at the market. I'm relatively happy with the overall composition of the page, but I'm learning to slow down a bit and think for a moment about placement of the various elements before I start scribbling in ink.

Transcription:
Top of the page -- A graceful figure at Marché de la Croix Rousse, Friday morning
Right side of the page -- Lyon details, sitting on a park bench with Paul, sky has clouded over and it's a bit muggy. Screeching of hirondelles, slight smell of sewage wafting up from a nearby grate. Schoolboy of about 11 or 12 just whizzed down the hill [on trotinette/sidewalk scooter] past us with enough momentum to get him halfway up the hill opposite
Right side of the page, bottom, perpendicular -- Finishing off these sketches back in our AirBnB, Rue Pierre Blanc
Lower left -- I wonder if she brought home as many fat asparagus as we did, or ripe tomatoes. Did she also buy olives? haricots verts?

All that was back then, travelling; I hope you're not wearying of my travel posts as I go over photos and notes and memories, integrating the experience into my life back home. Next post will be more firmly rooted in the present where I'm reading some very good books, picking up my knitting again, tending the garden, and planning a bit of local travel.  .  .  Until then, I hope you'll leave a comment, even if it's just a quick wave. . . And having just celebrated Canada Day here, I wish all my American readers a Happy Fourth of July!

21 comments:

  1. I thoroughly enjoy your travel posts and am loving your journals. I've always wanted to do one but overthink it to the point of paralysis. Kudos to you for continued effort despite the self doubts/criticism. Can't wait to hear what you're reading and knitting.

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement -- I know that overthinking very well, and I hope you might some day just ignore it and jump in! ;-)

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  2. I was given a travel journal for a re-retirement gift and I think that I will use it in France in September. I'd like to take some lessons from your friend to get a better idea of the sketching/watercolour aspects but experience has shown me that too much erasing and fussing does not usually improve my efforts. I'm interested in hearing about new books.

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    1. What a thoughtful gift -- perfect for you on your second retirement. Alison's doing those week-long workshops in Lyon in September, but keep an eye on her website (or drop her a line and ask to be included on her mailing list) -- she generally offers the Travel Journal class as a weekend class in her studio on Protection Island. . .

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  3. I can't get enough of your beautiful handmade "snapshots" of your travels. Will happily scarf up all that you offer.

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  4. I love your travel sketches-they are really precious and something that makes your diary,your blog and your travels so unique and special!
    Dottoressa

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  5. I am enjoying your travel posts, especially the journal with your wonderful images.

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  6. Travel posts are always fresh to the reader, for we don't have your frame of reference for placing them in the past. I always enjoy your glimpses of life in distant corners of the world, and your sketching to go along with them.

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    1. That's a good insight, Lorrie -- thanks for the encouragement.

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  7. I'm adding to the chorus of people who enjoy your sketches. Just imagine some little grandchild of your treasuring them.

    Luci

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    1. Thanks, Luci -- and that's my fondest hope and imagining ;-)

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  8. Oh yes... I identify with the feeling that criticism is imminent even when said patient spouse if just sitting reading a book.Ha. So hard to get over that self-critical hurdle. I echo everyone else's commenst and also love the sketches.

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    1. These good men, these complicated women ;-)
      Thanks for the encouragement, both here and on FB

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  9. I have so enjoyed your travel posts - the photos, insights, reflections, and most of all, the pages from your travel journal with colourful sketches/watercolours. I feel that I've visited many places vicariously, although I did manage a trip to Paris in late May. We also walked many miles both inside art galleries and outside in the lovely sunshine. By the way, if I could produce such vivid sketches, I would be very happy indeed. I think you are very hard on your artistic self! Wilma D

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    1. Thanks so much for this encouraging comment, Wilma. Sounds as if you had a good time in Paris this past May, as we did -- which art galleries did you have a chance to visit?

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    2. This time, we revisited the Musee Picasso, Musee Rodin and Musee Marmottan. The majority of visitors at Musee Marmottan are Parisians attending whatever special exhibition is on at the time (Corot in May). Meanwhile, we were able to view the works in the permanent collection by Berthe Morisot and others in peace and tranquility. The Monet collection had only a small handful of visitors and the overwhelming beauty of these paintings in such a peaceful setting moved me to tears. I also bought a deep red silk blouse in a small boutique in Montmartre. It makes me smile every time I wear it. On our way home to Scotland, we spent two days in London and saw the Picasso 1932 exhibition at Tate Modern. Wonderful. Wilma

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    3. Can you believe we have not yet been to the Marmottan? Nor, for that matter, to the Picasso since it's been re-opened. I do love that about certain Paris museums, that the visitors are primarily Parisians who really want to keep up with their city's cultural offerings. I'm making a note now to get to the Marmottan next visit -- seeing the waterlilies at L'Orangerie was intended, I know, to bring peace and tranquility, but it's been so crowded when I've been that I've rather sworn off it.
      Your red silk blouse sounds like the perfect souvenir -- and then to have been able to cap your trip with Picasso at the Tate Modern -- superb!

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  10. Oh those dang inner voices! I am glad you settled down and shared. I think the erasures, although not evident here, are part of the charm. Life is rarely a photograph after all, and most of us are more generous than our inner voices would have us believe.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we?

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