A change of month brings with it a change of theme for the Documented Life Project prompts. June’s theme is Travel Journaling which I think could be a lot of fun despite not being on vacation. The challenge prompt this week was to use illustrative journaling and the phrase prompt was “Take me away”.
I knew right away that I wanted to base my page on Rome. If I could click my heels and be instantly, magically transported to any place I have travelled before, it would be to Rome that I returned. I long to return to Rome. My husband and I call it being “Rome-sick”.
Back in February 2011, my in-laws generously offered to look after our four boys so that Mr Pict and I could go off on a city break for a long weekend. We love Italy and Mr Pict is an obsessive nerd when it comes to Ancient Rome so we leapt at the chance to visit Rome. We hit the ground running and did not stop. Our feet were throbbing at the end of every day as we tried to cover as much of the city, as many sights and experiences as we possibly could. To assist us in that endeavour, I had constructed a colour-coded map that was index linked to a numbered list. This meant I could devise logical routes to take us past interesting sites just in passing from A to B priority places. So, for instance, if getting from some Roman Baths to a historic church, I could devise a route that would take us past a couple of fountains I wished to see. I used a different colour for different types of sites and for different levels of priority – from the Absolutely Must Sees down to the Only If We Have Spare Time. I am one of life’s over-planners generally but I really surpassed myself this time. The fruits of my labours, however, made it all worthwhile as we crammed an extraordinary amount into just three days.
I wanted to try to create the feel of having sketched on the spot. I, therefore, got out my photobook of the Rome trip and decided I would give myself just a minute maximum to sketch – with a pencil and pitt pen – each element as if I was quickly jotting the drawing down while on the hoof. I would need a whole wad of paper to sketch all the things we saw and did but I at least wanted to grab a few elements from each day of our trip. There is the massive bust and hand of Constantine, the Pantheon and Colosseum, the doors from the Curia in the Forum, the Bocca della Verita and a slice of pizza. Once my rapid sketches were done, I used watercolour to wash in some colour. I finished by adding some spatter over the page for no reason other than the fact that I like spatter.
Hopefully the next time I sketch Rome it will be because I am there, sitting in a piazza, sipping a glass of wine and watching the sun set over a fountain.