Artistic Musings > Travel Journals

Sketches from Mike's French Travel Sketchbook

A few notes about travel, sketching and journaling . . .

Whenever I have travelled to European destinations, whether it was for business or pleasure, I have felt a great need to connect with the surroundings in a greater way and to have something to look back upon. Of course, most folks choose to photograph their way through their journeys.

Being an artist, I accidentally discovered the idea of journaling and painting inside of a single book. It happened to me in 1997 on a trip with a friend to France.  It began as drawing possible painting subjects with a pen, then following it up with photos. My friend wanted to show the country to me and was anxious to take in as much as possible in a short time. So, setting up an easel every place we went was simply impossible. There just wasn’t time. But I could make quick sketches with a pen, record some notes and move on. In the evenings, I would take out my paints an wash over the drawings with color here and there.

Many of these were done with great haste as the schedule might have dictated. That was, actually, an added benefit. There wasn’t time to be tight and accurate. Just draw and draw quickly.

As time progressed on this trip it became more and more evident that the book in which I was working, and carrying literally everywhere, was fast becoming an extraordinarily precious keepsake. It had grown into a collection of  inner thoughts,  visual impressions and a record of the time spent as well as a group of prospective painting subjects. It had taken on a life of its own.

After arriving home it became obvious that this article of art would be an heirloom for my children. A promise was made upon that realization that similar books would be made every time I went on such trips. That is precisely what has happened. I am in hope that many books of sketches and thoughts (journals) will be collected over time.

There are over 2000 photographs in my studio that almost never get seen. When I go through these journals, I am immediately transported back to the moments in which they were made. All the emotion of the time, the beauty, the feeling of place suddenly come again to mind when looking on these pages. No photograph has ever made such a connection for me. We who are artists are truly given such a precious gift!

Here are a few pages from trips to France twice and  to Spain. Italy is coming soon.  I am anxious to add that to the collection.

For a closer look, download the PDF versions:

France Sketchbook 1
France Sketchbook 2
Spain Sketchbook

Please remember these works are copyright, and only for you to read and enjoy!

France Sketchbook 1

France Sketchbook 1-0

France Sketchbook 1-1

France Sketchbook 1-2

France Sketchbook 1-3

France Sketchbook 1-4

France Sketchbook 1-5

France Sketchbook 2

France Sketchbook 2-1

France Sketchbook3

France Sketchbook 4 France Sketchbook 6


Spain Sketchbook

Spain Sketchbook 1 Spain Sketchbook 2
Spain Sketchbook 3 Spain Sketchbook 4
Spain Sketchbook 5 Spain Sketchbook 6

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