Whenever I go on a trip, I pack a new Moleskine Watercolor Journal along with a handful of Micron 05 waterproof pens. I love the small pocket size so I can slip it into my crossover bag, which takes up as much room as a phone. That way, whenever I have an opportunity, I can take it out and sketch for a bit.
Here's a little video of the book, and then there are some of the still images below! I hope you enjoy it.
First, stop on the trip! Princeton, NJ, to see one of my besties. It was the peak season of color and gorgeousness in October.
Looking down at my feet with all the different-sized leaves in oranges and reds.
One day we walked around Princeton University - so much history here. Lots of brick and, of course, ivy. I loved the side of this building with lots of engraved bricks for different class years and old, big vines growing up the side.
I flew into Buffalo a couple of days later, and my mom and I decided to take a country drive and head to Ellicottville, NY. If you want to ski or snowboard in Western New York, this is where you go, but in October, you can also take the ski lift up to see the beautiful scenery. There were these 2 guys in this lift, and one of them had a bull horn and was cracking everyone up.
Early on the trip, my mom and I decided to cross into Canada to go to Niagara-on-the-Lake. But someone (not me this time!) brought the wrong card. No U-turns allowed. Do not pass go. Head straight to Border Control. Here’s where having a sketchbook comes in handy – no cell phones allowed. So I sketched my mom waiting patiently to be called.
After a few hours at border patrol and being sent back to the US, we decided to just walk around Niagara Falls on the American side. A perfect day in the ’70s with a bright blue sky, not that crowded, and incredible views. I have many memories of the Falls as it's only about 25 minutes away from the home where I grew up. Lots of visits with family and friends over the many years!
After a good walk and fresh air, we went to the Red Coach Inn which is right alongside the Falls. I sketched this of my mom as we were waiting for our lunch. It was an adorable place with lots of character and yummy food! I loved this brocade chair she was in; very regal!
I try to walk as often as I can when I travel. Sometimes it’s the same loop in my old neighborhood, so I look extra hard for the beauty in new things. One day (still amazing warm weather), I walked along the golf path at the back of the houses. The way the sun shone on these trees was beautiful. A lot of the leaves were down on the ground, and the shadows were just as prominent as the trunks. Stunning.
One of my favorite finds was the milkweed that had turned to see pods and was opening up to blow away and spread all that fluff around.
5 beautiful shiny chestnuts that my dad had collected. I love how smooth these are - and with the circular shapes in the middle. Very inspirational for some abstract work.
I went to my dad's to watch the Sunday night Bills game (luckily, we won!), and in the morning, he made me a fantastic English fry-up breakfast! Yum! (Baked beans, bacon, sunny side up eggs, fried tomatoes, and fried bread). The only thing not fried – the beans!
My mom and I decided to take 2 and go back to Canada! Correct documents in hand, we were good to go. The next few sketches were all done from this trip. We were sitting on a bench by the gorge facing the American side. Stunning view!
One of the highlights of this trip was taking my mom to The Prince of Wales Hotel, where we had High Tea. The most delicious tray of assorted sandwiches and desserts. We managed to drink 2 pots of English Tea. There was plenty of time to relax and sip, so I could sketch the fireside setup while sitting in my chair.
The tea set at our table was the same one that Michelle Obama picked for the White House when she lived there. Wedgewood – Bird of Paradise. It was so beautiful!
The next few sketches are from my time with my Dad celebrating his birthday. I dragged him out to the front porch where the sun was shining, and it was warm for November. We both sketched his deck. There was a grove of leafless trees behind his house, standing tall and proud.
This page was also sketched in real-time, and this one is of his back garden and pond area.
This was one of the best dinners I’ve ever had in Buffalo. My dad chose it for his birthday as he also loves it so much. Bacchus Wine Bar. A definite must when I go back there.
I did manage to fill in this little book, and I always feel so proud of myself when that happens! haha. I hope this inspires you to pick up a little sketchbook next time you travel! That's all you need and then let your creative imagination take you away.