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English Sketchbook, Part 1

I wanted to share some sketches from a recent trip to England. My favorite thing to do in the world is take a few sketchbooks away on an adventure. This was a great trip! I got a lot of work done for an upcoming book project, but also had plenty of time to dream and sketch in London and the Cotswold countryside.


A Cotswold gatehouse - there is so much detail and exquisite beauty to these buildings, especially on the roofs, that they almost seem to pulse with energy. I wanted to capture how I feel or what I imagine with this building more than the details. Also the rooks are a constant inspiration to me. They caw and sing as if they are having great adventures in the sky above, like they are party to something we can not see.


I just wanted to really see all the detail of this building (Westminster Abbey in London). Stopping to sketch allows me to do that. But oh boy, the detail, it's hard to capture! Really happy though to have taken the time to really explore this building through looking and sketching.

Chipping Campden

Chipping Campden- I love how the sheep wander around this abandoned gatehouse and cemetery. There is such beauty everywhere we turn here.


The clock tower in Chipping Campden, just a few steps from our tiny cottage. The rooks play constantly on the windy skies. Even on a blustery cold day, I am grateful to partake in their cheer.

Chinatown, London

We walked though Chinatown, (London) on a rainy day, heading to the British Museum. Even on such a gloomy day, the bright red of the lanterns makes it feel festive and alive. And of course, we had to stop for Dim sum!


Fleet Street - waiting for my meeting at my English publisher!!


A girl and her dragon - marble statue circa 1200's. (Victoria Albert Museum)

Beautiful clock in London

London Clock on the side of a building. If I were a mouse, this is where I'd live!


Imagine - every single gargoyle and grotesque that adorns these buildings is a different creature! I am in awe of the creativity of those who built these fantastic buildings.


So much energy went into building these structures, it's as if they were summoning the forces of nature to collect around them. This just captures how I feel looking at them. Would love to disappear into a dreamworld here and find a story.


Evening falls on the Cotswolds (Broadway village)


Dordogne Sketchbook and Paintings

I’ve gathered a small collection of the many sketches I did on a trip to France this spring. Dave and I traveled to the Dordogne region to see the prehistoric cave art of Lascaux, Font de Gaume, and other caves. The experience of walking through these caves by flashlight and seeing these ancient paintings on the walls, especially in Font de Gaume, where we walked through the original cave and saw paintings dating back 15,000 years, was awe inspiring. I will carry the images of those sacred paintings forever in my mind.

sx370 Bison Sculpture, La Madeleine

sx371 Lascaux

sx372 Lascaux

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Snowy Cottage

Here's a snowy cottage from my daily painting-sketch journal.

Snowy Cottage by Lita Judge


Good morning all!

Chimp by Lita Judge


Creative Play

It is always so inspiring when I get to step out of the studio and work in the field with sketchbook in hand. My most recent painting trip was in France.


My goal was to gather ideas for a book I am just starting that is set in France, but even more importantly, to take some time away from the intense studio work and create an atmosphere of creative play and exploration. I want to see and record as much as I can when I am working in a sketchbook. But I also want to stretch myself as an artist, try new methods, experiment with new surfaces, tackle paintings I would never do in the studio, basically just climb out on a limb and PAINT. On this trip I painted in gardens and on street corners, I painted rooftops and sculptures, I even painted self portraits of myself because I wanted to record how happy I was while exploring. I worked in ink and watercolor, fountain pen and pencil. I had fun collecting bags from Paris shops and experimented with watercolor on toned surfaces. The warm brown paper bags made a wonderful surface to bounce the blue skies and dazzling light of Paris. Sketch trips are always a wonderful time to really push yourself to see new things and play with ideas on how to capture them in paint. I always feel thankful after painting trips and even a little reluctant to give up the freedom I find in the field as apposed to the studio. But journeys with sketchbooks always recharge me and fuel my ideas for stories. They make the work I create in the studio all the more meaningful because the work was started during such joyful adventures.

Here are a few of the sketches from this last trip.

Amboise 2015

Amboise, France

Amboise, France

Amboise, France

Amboise, France

Amboise, France

Degas bather, Musee d'Orsay

Degas bather, Musee d'Orsay

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A Sketch for Today

A sketch for today. May all of you out there creating, whatever form you choose, have a lovely day.



Along the River

Killdeers calling along the river this morning. I love this time of year. This is a little sketch from my sketchbook.



I spent Easter Sunday looking through old sketchbooks, dreaming about new ideas from old thoughts. I love sketchbooks – they have the ability to keep ideas and memories alive. I also find when creating them, I'm much braver while on an adventure than in my studio, to try different things. My journal is a place where I explore, and do a little re-inventing. Sometimes things just sit between the pages of a sketchbook forever, but occasionally they leap out a decade later and prompt a new story or direction in my work.

Here's an example of a painting I probably would never create in the studio, but it was just a moment of joy captured within the pages of my Paris journal. I passed this little dog each morning on my walk into the city. I thought he had both panache and whimsy so I played with a brightly colored sketch on the back of a little blue paper bag that held a scarf I had just purchased. It's fun to try new things.

Paris Puppy


Sketches from Sweden

I'm just settling back to the easel after a trip to Sweden. It's always good to get out of the studio to see and draw new things. Here are a few of the sketches done in my sketchbook while away. I wish I could spend my whole life wandering around this beautiful world looking at art and sketching.

Our first day in Stockholm – snow blanketed this cemetery. I loved the stark gravestones and cross against the white and brilliant yellow of the church.


Wedding spoons of the Sami people – carved reindeer antlers


Swedish Folklore design