Sadly the events of the first 6 months of 2016 stole a lot of time for pen and ink – restoration of a flooded basement, preparing our house to go on the market, selling, buying our townhouse, and moving. Yet I can never stay away from my sketchpad for long. Here are my top 5 locations, and a few of the sketches that stand out for the year.
1. Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan
The heat and the humidity did make spending time in the wonderful gardens almost unbearable some days, yet I did get a few sketches in. One of the most memorable was one quiet afternoon at the Refresh Room at the Hotel Niwa, located on the mezzanine level with a flowing pond and plants. It was such a peaceful place to spend an hour or two.
One morning in Kyoto, Tricia had a lay in (for you non British folks, she slept in). I went for a walk and ended up at the back entrance of Higashi Hongaji Temple. As people walked by heading for work, I sat on the sidewalk and sketched. I love morning sketches.
2. Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
In September we visited Crater Lake. It was the first time for Tricia, and it had been 50 years for me. Crater Lake is one of the most beautiful places in the world. I sat on a log next to the edge of the lake and sketched Wizard Island, beautiful view, wonderful time.
3. San Antonio, TX
In May I went to Ft. Sam Houston Army base for a seminar. The night before I wandered along the canals of San Antonio, a paradise for anyone with a sketchpad. I sat at a table in an Irish Pub next to the canal and sketched, it is hard to find anything more enjoyable.
4. Windsor, California
We took our annual, though it had been three years due to a wonderful wedding and a trip to Europe, excursion to the wine country of Sonoma. We stayed at an AirBnB in Windsor, we had the best hostess, and it was so pleasant. One morning I got up early for tea, the house was dark and quiet, I sat in the kitchen and sipped tea while sketching a vase of flowers.
5. Cafe Blue, San Diego, California
The Mission Valley of San Diego is too, well too much – shopping and hotels. The place I was staying at and where I was doing my seminar was a dump. Thankfully the Hillcrest area and Cafe Blue is just up the hill, a perfect escape. I sat at the bar and chatted with the bartender, sipped wine, ate well and sketched. One of those times when it is the act of sketching more than the results that makes it a joy.