Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…


Travel Journal Ready

Ready to go…

The bags are getting packed and the travel journal is ready for use. First stop will be Bacharach on the Rhine. Already inserted are copies of postcards of Lorelai and the painting by JMW Turner of the Lorelai cliff on the Rhine is a centerfold. Turner popularized this area with British tourists by painting and sketching it.

I also included a photo of the placemat from a German restaurant in Berkeley.

The next segment of the trip will be Leiden, the Netherlands.

The ephemera I found on Etsy:

I will be looking for images in the Rijksmuseum by Charley Toorop, a Dutch painter who lived from 1891-1955. I was struck by her style.

While in Leiden we will take a side trip to Bruges…

Now it is ready to be filled with my impressions.


Traveling pants…

Since I have been retired, (almost four years now), when we have taken a trip I have tried to keep a travel journal. The luxury of having the time to journal after the years of working was unique, but I have found that I am not that adept at journaling as the events happen and I usually do most of the work after I return home.

Our first trip a.r. (after retirement) was a road trip to Canada. After taking a Mary Ann Moss class I had my soft, fabric journal with sewn together pages and pockets. I did a wee bit of writing and including ephemera accumulated along the way but really needed to get my pictures printed at home in order to wrap that one up.

IMG_9955IMG_9951IMG_9952This journal has pages that are 6 x 9.

Then we went to Florence and Tuscany. The journal grew to 9 x 9 1/2 but still had the same construction. This trip I realized that even though I had many supplies with me traveling with TM meant constant walking all day. Other than falling into bed exhausted at night there was really no time for journaling and most of it was accomplished once I was home.

IMG_9953IMG_9954The next spring it was Paris and the night before as we packed our suitcases, memories of us squatting on the floor of the Florence airport, repacking our suitcases three times in order to fly home caused me to impulsively leave the journal and supplies at home. It was a giant-sized journal,  9 x 9,  and had eight signatures. After I began to work on it I realized I might have room to put our second trip to Paris in the same journal but it kept getting wider and wider, and fatter and fatter the more I added to it and eventually I decided to remove three signatures and create a new book for the second trip. (That has not happened yet.)

IMG_9957IMG_9956IMG_9958IMG_9960 IMG_9961IMG_9962Then I took Mary Ann Moss’s “Ticket to Venice” class and made a most beautiful journal. I made a lot of mistakes, however, including that it is big,  10 1/2  x 10 1/2, and, thinking I was hot stuff, I grabbed some book cloth I had sitting around for ten years. Did not think it through, though. It is silk and although beautiful, any drop of errant glue discolors the fabric and it frays and the corners were a disaster. Hence silver tape from the hardware store hides the ugliness.

I did learn, however, that my absolutely favorite book tape is that which I make myself, in this case painted and stenciled canvas. Plus this may be my favorite binding stitch of all time. But the book itself sits empty except for its gorgeous pages. Some pages are from the Anthropologie catalogue, some file folders, some random papers just sitting around this house.

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By then I was quite frustrated, but for our trip to Portland in March, I forced myself to make it small  (6 x 8) and as background pages I used photographs I had taken of a trip to the same place two years earlier. Simple and to the point and I got the book done a week after I got back, hmmm…plus it was only four days of a trip.

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Our next trip is looming and over the last few weeks I have visited a few blogs of watercolorists. I enjoyed reading Jaqueline Newbold’s discussion of her colors on her palatte (she has a kit at Daniel Smith) and seeing the way she divides up the pages in her sketchbook. Also, while doing a blog hop because Chris Cozen has new stencils available I came across Jane LaFazio’s blog. She had some  unique ways of treating her sketchbook pages. I am jumping in…an Arches watercolor sketchbook and a pallete of paints. Division of the page using washi tape:

IMG_9988 IMG_9989Jane LaFazio’s suggestion was to use spray gesso over stencils and then paint multiple layers of watercolor on top. I had no spray gesso and don’t have Chris’s stencils yet, so I decided to use some white acrylic paint with EZScreen silkscreens I already had made. (From my photographs I exposed the screen with sunlight and then it gets developed with tap water…look, ma, no yucky things to have around!) Then I thought about how my gesso has been sitting around so long a lot of the water probably has evaporated away and went ahead and used it anyway. Worked great!

IMG_9983 IMG_9984 IMG_9985 IMG_9986 IMG_9987So, we have our traveling pants on (my favorite are Royal Robbins…light weight, wash in the sink, dry by morning, shake out the wrinkles); the pages are prepped; the cover is done;

IMG_9993We will be on our way to:


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Pot pourri…

When we were in Italy last October I took one random segment of video. I have no clue as to why except that it was a beautiful clear day, I was overwhelmed by the environment, and I wanted to remember the music I was hearing. I have been carrying around this one and one half minutes ever since, not knowing quite what to do with it. Almost trashed it many times. Then, for the final project of the Xanthe Berkeley class I was taking we needed to combine video and work with “ducking” sound. I finally had a use for it and I made this memory of Italy from my iPhone photos. It was a fun project to try to find coordinating music for the rest of the movie.

Made a strawberry and ricotta tart after the Chandler strawberries came into the Farmer’s Market last Sunday.

Also came across rhubarb at Whole Food’s. Pulled out my favorite recipe from a book I got many years ago written by the proprietors from a Cafe in Paris. I am going to now have the opportunity to visit this cafe in person.

The black and white striped French fisherman’s shirt I ordered from LLBean has arrived in time for its trip to Paris.

The signatures for my travel journal are ready to be sewn into its cover.

It happened again: before we went to Italy I discovered a magazine I had kept for at least ten years. It was an issue devoted to Tuscany and one of its articles was a list of paper stores in Florence. I had a fabulous time searching for all the stores while I was there. A couple of weeks ago, I went to storage to get some furniture for my daughter who was moving apartments. There was a random box that was labeled papers so I brought it back home with the intention of sorting and recycling. The box was filled with old magazines that had belonged to my father. An example was Life magazine from 1943 talking about the war in the Pacific. (My father had been on a destroyer in the Navy.) There was also a copy of Holiday Magazine from 1948. (I was two!) The table of contents said the magazine had an article about the circus, but all the pages for that were neatly cut out. Most of the rest of the magazine was devoted to Paris! So now I have some wonderful graphics for my travel journal.

The most giggle inducing event is that a long-time friend (we met in fourth grade) and her husband are going to be in Paris at the same time. Happenstance is a powerful thing…if we had tried to actually plan this it never would have worked out. We are like school girls, school girls I tell you…

Still have to do the trial run with the suitcase and apply the Murphy rule. Pack it, then unpack and leave half of the contents at home. Counting down the days…

I no longer say ciao, I have switched to au revoir…