Toby and I left for Florence, Italy on the first day of October, 2004. It was our first overseas trip, which meant our first flight to Europe, my first time in a foreign country, and my first real trip with a sketchbook. I mean, I have always carried a sketchbook, and I'd been on plenty of trips with them, but this was the first time I brought a sketchbook especially for the trip with the purpose of filling it up. It was also my first Moleskine! At the time I was only on pencils, so I had my Moleskine, a few 4Bs, and a pencil sharpener.
Our connecting flight was in Paris. Everything was so different! I remember getting us some yogurt for a snack, which at the time seemed weird. It was also my first Coca-Cola Light. Mmmmm. Then we were in Italy. Or did we have another connecting flight? I don't remember now - it was 10 years ago, and it was the first time I took xanax for flying.
There's so much writing in this book, it surprises me. I dug out the sketchbook that I was using before the trip, and realized it was a whole different thing than what I carry now. It was full of notes and doodles, with few sketches from life. So at the time, all of the notes and the writing made sense. Now I guess I save the writing for this blog.
I like to show this book to my sketchbook classes - this last sketch in particular. Compare the shading on it to all of the previous sketches. It's so much better! Something clicked as we stood in line for the Uffizi, and I remembered how to draw. And I noticed it, too - I could tell it was different and better. After that the sketches are bigger and fuller, and I was more eager to make them.
But still sort of scribbly. This is exactly the kind of thing I tell my students not to do - these wishy-washy lines like the shadow at the bottom of this sketch. Do you want to put a shadow there? Then make it look like you did it on purpose, 2004 Self.
Oh but then there's this. Still one of my favorite sketches ever.
These are from Pisa.
These are from our anniversary dinner. It was quite a magical evening in the Tuscan countryside, with a little chill in the air and delicious food.
And of course I made lists of just some of the things that we experienced. Like I said, it was all so new to us. I did a terrible job packing - way too many clothes that were too heavy for the warm weather. I remember being so nervous for weeks beforehand, all while working on a huge project at work, installing artwork at the brand new FedEx Forum. I had hired the now world-famous Virginia Overton to help install the work, and I must have talked her ear off about the trip. But I just didn't understand how it works, going to and being in another country. I have to see things to understand them. But now I get it!
(click on images to see more detail)
(These sketches were all made between October 1 and October 13, 2004. I added the pictures to the book later.)