In August and September 2014 my family and I took a sketch booking trip to Venice, Paris and London for ten days. We started the trip earlier to spend some time with my parents in the Boston area and then arrived in Venice a few days early to spend time with close friends who had moved recently to Rome. The trip was fabulous and the weather was cooperative and lovely. I took a couple of sketchbooks with me and tried to add something to them everyday. I have been gradually completing the larger sketchbook with drawing from pictures or mementos. I chose to have everyday of the trip be a spread over two pages.
Boston and my hometown, Newton, were familiar and comfortable. I love to take walks in the old neighborhood looking at all the huge Victorian houses and the lovely gardens and landscaping. Things are a lot spiffier than they were when I was growing up there. A lot more seems to be spent these days on gardeners and house upkeep – and paint! The houses do look a lot nicer for the care though.
Venice was beautiful and charming. It was filled with tourists. Can Venetians afford to live in Venice any more, and can they afford to do something that doesn’t relate somehow to the tourist industry? I kept thinking about how old the city was and how much has gone on in this one small area over the past 500 years. I loved all the bridges and canals and irregular corners and nooks and crannies.
We took an over night train to Paris and spent three days in that fabulous city. I was struck by the sense of its age and history. Perhaps because I had a sketchbook and was always looking at things to possibly draw, I found Paris and its urban architecture beautiful. So many of its buildings were designed with an aesthetic in mind. I enjoyed being in the city and exploring. I felt like people really lived in Paris. There were certainly a lot of tourists, but it seems like a place where Parisians can live and work too.
The last leg of the trip was taking a train through the Chunnel to London for another three days. London also gives off a sense of history but seems to likes to juxtapose modern with traditional more than Venice and Paris. In Trafalgar Square with the classic Nelson’s monument and the National Portrait Gallery, there was a huge bright blue cockerel temporary sculpture just there in the midst of all the traditional elements. It was actually great fun to see things mixed up like that.
And then it was back home to unpack suitcases, do laundry, and play with our dog and cats who I had missed while away for three weeks. And it was time to spread out art supplies and get going with filling in the sketchbook from the trip!