An Italy-inspired Art Journal

I created my first travel-inspired art journal a couple of years ago, following our trip to Greece. At the time, I wanted to try different surface-design techniques, and get back into collaging after a decades-long break. I didn’t really care about the final result. All I wanted was to play, try new things and make some art that wasn’t textiles.  In the end, I didn’t love the journal I made, but I learned some new things and enjoyed the process. 

I made a second travel journal after I returned from a trip to Dubrovnik last spring. I started that journal by looking over pictures I took on the trip and deciding on a color palette. This second travel book gave me an excuse to pull out my gel plat and further my printing experimentations. In it, I incorporated pictures of door knockers I discovered, and used paper cutting techniques I learned a while back.

It is said that trying something more than once creates a habit. I wasn’t expecting to get into travel journaling when I made that first Greece-inspired artbook, but when we went to Italy last summer I found myself thinking of a travel journal on the very first day…

Italy’s Colors

Choosing color palettes for my first two travel journals happened after I was back home. This wasn’t the case with my Italy journal. Once the thought of making an artbook came to mind while I was still in Italy, I started paying attention to the colors around me. It didn’t take long before I noticed that maroon, ocher, black and white were all over everywhere in Italy, in arts, crafts and architecture dating from the ancient world to modern times.

Pictures as Collage Fodder

When I printed collage fodder on my gel plate for the Dubrovnik book, I was trying to recreate the look of old walls with peeling paint. I absolutely love weathered surfaces and find peeling walls irresistible. Achieving that look on my prints gave me great joy.

In Italy, I was delighted to find lots of old walls and lots of peeling paint. A few days into the trip, as I was wondering how to replicate that look in my studio, it occurred to me that instead of trying to recreate the walls on my gel plate, I could try to use actual photos of the originals as collage fodder! For the remainder of the trip I took pictures of interesting surfaces whenever I found them, sticking mostly to the color palette I’ve decided on. I took pictures of old walls, but also of pavements, mosaics, graffiti and inscriptions.

Italy-inspired Art Journal


After I returned home, I began by selecting several of my texture pictures and printing them on my home printer.

The prints were a little more dull than I expected them to be, but I liked the effect nonetheless.

I then began planning compositions, cutting and pasting.

I worked on the collages for several days, and then let them sit while I moved on to other projects. When I returned to the journal a few weeks later with fresh eyes, I finished the collages off with some acrylic prints and stitch-imitating marks with acrylic markers.

Italy-inspired Art Journal Collages

Here are the final eight collages in my Italy-inspired art journal:

Stitched together into a book similar in format and size to the previous two, this Italy-inspired journal became a nice memento from an inspiration-filled trip.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *