Friday, April 12, 2013

Journaling on the Go

 I really HAVE been keeping journals during this long silence, just not posting them because I haven't figured out how to do that seamlessly from my phone yet; and I've spent the greater part of the last month traveling.  So here are some random pages from the journals I  kept while visiting our sons and their families in the northeast.  The journals themselves were a small butter box book and a slightly larger book made out of a potato chip bag.

These first two pages were from a day when my husband and I took our three-year-old grandson who lives in Maplewood, NJ, into Manhattan via New Jersey Transit and then by subway to the Museum of Natural History.  Nate is crazy about trains and subways, and while we rode the train we looked for the most interesting things we could find at each station, and then Nate would tell me what to draw.  You can follow our trip and marvel at the gorgeous and exotic things that caught his eye.  I can't tell you how truly excited he was by each of these stations, and when we got home we overheard him playing train scenarios with his Thomas trains that involved Brick Church, Secaucus Junction, East Orange, and the C train!
  This third page is a kind of followup to the cow gameboard that I posted in February.  As we were all walking in Maplewood one bleak and icy day, we saw a soccer field in the park with robins evenly spaced and all facing the same direction.  I loved how geometric the whole thing was.  I added the little squares for each robin in the same spirit as I put in a game board for the cows.  We decided the robins were staking out territory, although the ground was impossibly hard and frozen at that point.  Optimistic birds!

After a week in New Jersey playing with Nate and also welcoming his new baby sister, Abby, we drove up to Enfield, New Hampshire, to see our son Mike and his family.  This page shows our grandsons Tallis, Luca, and Barnaby posing for me.  These guys love to do art and always want to draw in my journals as well as check out what I'm drawing.  They like me to draw them, which I enjoy doing immensely.

 New Hampshire visits usually include field trips to great museums and nature centers and maple syrup operations, all tucked away in beautiful countryside.  This time we all went to the Vermont Institute for Avian Studies in Woodstock.  In spite of chilly winds, Barnaby, aged 4, and I spent a lot of time sketching bald eagles and snow owls and other raptors.  The birds were in large outdoor enclosures but were perched close enough to the fences that we could get good detailed drawings.
 Also at the Vermont Institute I drew some blackbirds as research for a drawing of blackbirds that I am in the  middle of doing on a ceramic pie plate that I'm making.  What a great place to get bird information first hand!  I then used this sketch to draw from last week at ceramics studio.

We returned to Maplewood to help out some more with newborn Abby, and on Saturday mornings in Maplewood I got to go watch Nate do gymnastics.  The kids were great fun to watch and the watching parents almost more fun.  I jotted down conversations that I overheard.  Nate was wearing his favorite brown pants.  He told me that brown is his favorite color.


  1. Love seeing some of these pages again, and others for the first time. Hurry back. We like your visits.

  2. These are lovely Gwen. can't wait for your visit. Your journal has taught me one thing - I must get out more, so I have something to draw!!!

  3. Thanks, Shirley and Linda! Hope to hurry back, Shirley! ANd Linda, can't wait to see you in two weeks! Thanks for all the solid information on using the Paypal card. Mine is a mastercard (maestro) so should work fine, as you said.

  4. I once made a "butter box" journal only I used a red, white and blue cream cheese box. I gave it to someone who begged and begged to have it and now I wish I still had it myself. It was a lot of work and took about 11 or 12 signatures and I don't remember where I bought the cream cheese and can't find the same box any more. But it was fun to do. Thanks for the tutorial. (You're mentioning butter box triggered this comment.)