This collection was sketched and painted on location. I always carry with me a little watercolor travel palette, a pen and a brush with water in the handle.
One of the many things I enjoy about sketching is how it forces me to be present and in the moment. It engages all my senses and helps me create detailed memories of things I have experienced. I clearly remember, for instance, one of the first travel sketches I made in 2004 while in Venice, Italy. My 13-year-old daughter, April, and I were tucked together on some worn cobblestone steps in St. Mark’s Square. She cozied up in front of me while I rested my sketch pad on her back. We idly chatted while I sketched the intricate details of St. Mark’s Basilica. The sun burned through the light cotton fabric of my shirt, while the scent of roasting garlic made my stomach rumble. Tourists and Venetians alike bustled around us, as a babel of conversations danced around my ears. A young couple walked by holding waffle cones of creamy, garishly colored gelato. Trickles of the icy treat melted by the sun would drip onto the pavement, forming tiny fireworks of color on a concrete canvas. I realized then how sketching was a sensory experience that helped me truly appreciate everything around me, not like clicking a quick photo. It is one of the reasons I carry a sketchbook and pen wherever I go.