Thursday, September 24, 2009

Do I need to carry a sketchbook when I have an iPhone?

I'm packing to leave for Paris on the weekend. I have made my 'Perfect Journal' and am finally the owner of an iPhone 3GS. Both of these will slide into my shoulder bag and accompany me everywhere. Each has it's uses... but doesn't the iPhone win? (if there was a competition).

My iPhone is my new favourite thing. I will take a photo (at the very least) every where I go and these will be geotagged. T will be carrying a supa-dupa camera (it's his passion) and will be taking his own photos. My geotagged photos will assist him in identifying where he took his photos as he sifts through what will be thousands of shots when he gets back.

My iPhone will tell me where I am. We have a month in Paris and we are by nature wanderers. Last time we were there (which was also our first time) we frequently tossed up whether to go to ___ which is what we planned, or keep wandering because it was beautiful right where we were. (That's the thing about Paris, EVERYTHING is beautiful. You don't really have to see 'the sites' because what you are looking at every second is beautiful.)

The downside of being a wanderer is that you don't really know exactly where you are at any given time. We would get back to our apartment and find we had been just near ___ and not known, missed it completely. So our dilemma became whether to go purposefully back through our wandered territory, or go somewhere new. New always won of course, so there were things we missed. This time we will be able to wander AND to know where we are. But not only that, my iPhone will give us access to our Google Map.

We have created our own Google Map with place markers on it of all the places we would like to go "if we end up near there." We haven't put our must-see's on it, just the addresses of little shops, restaurants, markets and streets that we have read about or been told about. You know, you hear about a place and think "That sounds perfect! I must go there" and when you check the map it is way out to billy-o and it doesn't really warrant a full blown excursion just for the 'cute little ceramic shop'. But should we wander that way, we won't miss it this time!

And then there are the applications. It really is the 'apps' that makes the iPhone a winner over and above other smart phones. I have my translator app, the plan and tour app for the Palace of Versailles, lots of other travel apps. Then there are the photography apps. I was worried about the quality of the 3mpx camera, I would have like more, but the quality is surprisingly good and the sheer fun and pleasure the apps bring to taking photos is quite exhilarating. (I took these photos of my sketchbook with my iPhone!)

Oh and I can use it as a phone too. And email. And blogging and flickr and Facebook and twitter etc etc. Or listen to music. Or play games. (I wouldn't of course. I'd draw in my sketchbook instead!) So, my sexy little piece of hardware reduces the number of things I carry quite substantially; phone, camera, ipod, gps, guide book(s) and maps at the very least. And it weighs less than my ipod alone does.

My sketchbook, on the other hand, does the exact opposite. It creates more things I need to carry. I need my pens, my watercolours, water brushes, blotting paper, tissues to clean up with, glue, (and if the world was a different place) scissors or a knife; lucky I don't carry pencils and erasers any more.

The photos I intend to take are different from the ones T will take. They will be shots of patterns, details and reference shots for paintings I intend to do when I come back. I can get a lot of these shots taken in the time it takes to do a single sketch. It was the time it takes to do the sketches that surprised me last time. When you have the possibility of fitting in seeing Place Vendome this afternoon versus finishing the sketch you are doing in Place des Voges instead it actually gets a little stressful. We didn't see Place Vendome last time. It is on our list (and the Google Map) for this time.

This is part of the reason I wanted to stay for so long this time. To ease the pressure around the time it takes to sit and draw and see and experience and even wander. I don't know if we will actually have time to see everything on our list even with a month! But if I didn't take my sketchbook, if I only took my iPhone we could get around it all. I could paint from the photos I take and those photos would take me right back to the spot... or would they?

And I think that is the real difference between my sketchbook and my iPhone. When I look back through my sketchbooks I am truly transported back to that exact moment. I can see, hear, smell it all again. Vividly. When I flip back through my photos of last time I find myself thinking "where was that?"

I'll carry them both. I'll let you know who wins. I suspect there actually won't be a winner, that it will be more of a truce. But I'll let you know.
ps. This time I made my perfect travel journal out of a book with the all-time perfect title. Guess how long I'm going to be in Paris!? I filled it with my favourite paper - all the one kind this time because that is how I wanted it to be. It also has some pages from an old Paris Guide Book scattered throughout. I had another Paris book with beautiful illustrations in it that I was also going to incorporate. The book is in poor condition so a prime candidate for rebinding however I discovered it is a reasonably valuable book and a first edition. I couldn't bring myself to pull it apart. It has an elastic closer and a ribbon place marker, some loose sheets of blotting paper, but that is all this time. I wanted a simple version of my usual rebound journal this time. I love it. It IS perfect!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Saturday Shopping List - I'm going to Paris!

Yes! It's true! In 3 weeks!!!!
So many things have kept me busy of late but there is no denying the terminal velocity of a impending departure date. Those other things are finally beginning to take on less importance and the most important thing *PARIS* is finally winning. I'll tell more later but in the mean time here is a very Parisian Saturday Shopping List.

Belle by linn photography

Dreams of Paris by Shann Spishak

I will tell you more about my plans to turn instantly Parisian, the "Dream" dream apartment in the Marais, the shopping, the art... Sooooon. In the meantime, check out what others are shopping for today by clicking through the list on Fancy Picnic.

Thursday, September 03, 2009


Dinner Suit has been selected for the Warwick Art Prize. Yay!
It's surprisingly difficult to photograph. It doesn't look this motley in person. It's on its way to Warwick as I speak. It is in the textiles section. It is a difficult work to classify but 'textiles' seems perfect to me; it adds yet another layer of meaning to the work especially as textiles is traditionally "women's work."
I haven't entered any selected (juried) exhibitions in a long time but I'm getting back into it again and getting accepted into this one is just the boost I needed.