Sunday, September 26, 2010

Return from Ireland

I spent most of September getting ready and touring around the west coast of Ireland. Here is a special journal I made using blank 140 lb. Fabriano Artistico watercolor paper, as well as already-painted folios. The outside cover is upholstery leather with an inside green fabric fused to it with HeatnBond. Dark green linen thread sewn in a long stitch holds the 6 signatures of 3 folios each in place. There’s a Celtic button and round leather string to close it up. By folding up a recycled painting and hammering in some mini-eyelets, I created pockets. My intention was to take this journal with me everywhere and to write poetry, prose, thoughts, feelings, and lists, as well as to sketch. Spacing the signatures far enough to allow for thick collage, I planned for an all-purpose travel companion.

Now, here’s the ironic part. I did one sketch, in Doolin, the first day, and then nothing. Nada, zilch, nothing! Although it was a small tour group—four paying customers, the tour guide and her boy friend—it was exhausting. So much to see and do and feel. Although the pace was better than a commercial tour, to me if felt like non-stop go, Go, GO! It didn’t help the boyfriend would voice anything that popped into his head and often got into arguments with the girlfriend while the “tourists” became uncomfortable witnesses. Stress was thick when we were all crammed into the one mini-bus. Being an introvert and a Highly Sensitive Person, I found the atmosphere akin to an endurance test.

There were a lot of physical challenges, too: climbing up ancient forts and mountains on slippery rocks and slick grass, hiking here and there, being outside in much cooler (and lovely!) weather, navigating unfamiliar city streets.

Using this small notebook (below), first intended to hold art ideas, I wrote daily activities even on bumpy roads. Thus, my new camera became my main creative outlet for the twelve days. Eventually, with reflection and time, using fliers and brochures, I will transform my unused book into a travel journal.

The Irish food was all good and nourishing; I even acquired a taste for Guinness! The land and weather became a comfort, the people helpful and friendly. And the changeable light—dark clouds, rain, sunshine—illuminated and obscured distances. Ireland touched my soul since I first visited in 1982. So, regardless of the trials of this recent trip, I know the frustrations will fall away, leaving only good photos and good memories.


  1. I always take all the stuff to paint or draw on holiday but rarely use them. I'm too excited to focus on anything more than then the sensations of travel.....your journal is lovely though....

  2. Wow. That first photo of the landscape and cows is quite beautiful. I viewed it fullscreen and it seemed like I could almost step right into all that lush green.

    Thanks for the view.

  3. Yes, beautiful photos. so glad you had a good time there!

  4. Glad to hear I’m not the only one unable to create while traveling, Susan!

    Thank you very much, Vincent. It is a beautiful country.

    Hi Diana. I saw several Kennedy reference (not surprising, I guess) in the Emerald Isle. I’m so behind I need to catch up on your blog.

  5. Glad you are safely back. I find it sometimes trying to travel with people you don't know very well. I loved all your photos.

  6. Welcome home! I want ot hear more in person :)

  7. Very wisely said, Chris. I’ve now decided this is the last tour I take; from now on it is alone, with a good friend, or with my sister. That way, I have time to really explore and discover and also be in companion with myself or just one other.

    Thanks, Lyn; catch up time soon!

  8. beautiful - you should sell those - i would have LOVED one, i couldn't find anything in ireland and got some hardcover thing at the EURO STORE my gosh. ugh!

    sorry your trip wasn't ideal. come with us next time! lots of slow travel, LOL.

  9. Hmmm. Next time let me know and I will bring you on a tour myself!

    I read the post but missed that you made that journal, it is beautiful, I really thought it was a 'paperblanks' one!

    Just lovely.


  10. What a grand idea, Jessie! I’m glad you rented a cottage and had such a wonderful time with your family. See, if I had not taken a tour, we could have met up; sorry we didn’t get to.

    Thank you for the invitation, Lisa! I am so flattered—I had not heard of “Paperblanks” but looked them up and they have an assortment of gorgeous journals. It is absolutely amazing to receive your comment. Just recently I found your blog, added your link on mine, and had been looking at all your wonderful sea photos the day before your comment appeared here. The lovely fellowship of the blogging universe has made another connection!