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Bella Italia! Travel Sketchbook

PrettyToesVillage Italy Travel Journal

In 2003, I enjoyed a three week trip to Italy – a week alone in Venice and Verona, and two weeks on a tour with a small group of travelers, including Rick and Ann Steves and their two teenagers, Jackie & Andy. The “tour” was really great – just the right amount of “alone time” to putz, and organized activities and sightseeing. With a skilled driver at the wheel (yeah, Mario!) we went all over Italy. Each day, I rose early with the sun, and spent an hour or two exploring each town and sketching – a great way to connect with a place and the local townsfolk! The early morning hours are magical. I created this mini-website for my trip, so sit back with a nice cappuccino and travel to Italy with me! Ciao!


Way up in northeast Spain…near France!

Northeastern coast of Spain, nearly in France!

In northeastern Spain, close to France on a remote spit of land lies the Cap de Creus lighthouse. I first visited it with my Catalan buddy Beth just this time last year. The day was remarkably clear, just a little wind – which is astounding as this outpost gets hammered by the fierce Tramontana winds on a regular basis.

This painting was started onsite in pencil – Done in pen & ink, watercolor added later – (in a much warmer place!)

The winds are so brutal here  in this region, the even have names for them –

Rose of the Winds




Doodling at the Museum!

At the Pedrera building’s FREE gallery in Barcelona – It’s the work of cartoonist, illustrator Javier Marascal – and there are doodlings of all types, a wall screen composed of hanging magazine covers (very clever), textiles and animation.

As in most Spanish museum expos, there’s a final “art room” with paper and art supplies for creating your own creation; they gave me a plain Marascal mask to color. Tables with jars of colorful markers and books of ideas await. So I spend a half hour and work like a zombie, having a  mindless time coloring and doodling. I lose all track of time, my mask great fun to do.

My Mariscal Mask!

Yet another time, I was at the Federico Fellini audio-visual gallery showing at the Caixa Forum (I went MANY times!) – their “play room” had black & white pages, scissors, glue sticks and markers for creative kids (like me!) to do your own “film clip” of odd and interesting Fellini-esque odd people and situations – so this one was a bit wacky and wild, as well.

It is always so interesting to see people polk their heads into the “play room” at the exhibitions and walk on or nose about. Occasionally, there is another “child at heart” who joins me at the creativity tables and we both just smile and delight in working on our creations. I lose all track of time!

But that’s what passion is, no? Losing track of time – whether it’s while you’re browsing, relaxing, meditating, drawing & painting, even just having a wonderfully passionate, romantic encounter – bring it on! This is the juice of life! Savor the moment!

Take time to be a kid again!

Here’s my Fellini “magnum opus”:

“There’s a Party in Your Pants!”

Another Aspiring Artista!

A sunny weekend and an invitation to a  Catalan family picnic north of Sabadell. While some played futbol and later jumped rope,
I spent an hour sharing my watercolor palette and prowess with young Amanda, an enthusiastic four year old.
Her first watercolor experience and surely not her last!

Sharing the love of color!

Spent time in beautiful southern Spain and delighted in pulling out my travel paint set and letting my friends Abraham and his brother Benjamin express their creativity through watercolor. It brings the kid out in all of us!

A Day in the Park

In Barcelona, there is an intimate little park-like grotto tucked deep in the hillside of Montjuic, on the grounds of the 1929 World Expo – this sweet spot has tables perfect for relaxing and sketching, of course! I spent the afternoon sketching in this sweet little hideaway; the outdoor cafe now closed, but seats and tables perfect for a quiet afternoon alone with my sketchbook.

Buy your copy today! Cuba for Mama: A Daughter’s Journey 2016

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