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EXPLORE 2004

Royal Geographical Society London


EXPLORE 2004

Royal Geographical Society Gary P Waterworth Owen FRGS Key Note Opening Speaker and Field Research / Skills Workshop presenter on

Recording Expeditions in Words and Images gary@responseabilityalliance.com


My 3 Rules for the artistic recording of travels and expeditions is a:

GiVeN What we know about the expeditions of past centuries, we know because the crew and officers of these voyages kept journals. The journals record the experiences of the explorers in various ways:

Graphically Verbally Numerically


The oral traditions of indigenous people, as well as pictographs, cave drawings, murals, and other records are some of the ways people around the world have

preserved their experiences.


And of course what can compare to this?


Many people assume that they don’t have talent, that they lack that ability to draw. They think that drawing skills are somehow magically bestowed on "artists" alone. As with many assumptions, this one is incorrect.


Your journal will be unique to you, reflecting your personal style.

Peter Beard


Think about who might eventually read your journal. Imagine someone reading what you write 200 years from now? Who might that person be?


Get copies of historical journal excerpts to examine. You may also wish to find other examples of journal writing -Anne Frank's diary is a classic example, as well as Courtney Selous and Thomas Baines.


Seeing and observing are two different things. Observation is a discipline, and drawing is, in a sense, a way of training ourselves to observe.


"What do I see?" "Do I see anything that surprises me?" "How have I traveled to this spot?" "What tools do I have? "Who is with me on this expedition?" "What time of day is it?"


The keen observation needed for taking down visual images gives a heightened awareness of a new environment. You take time to look at detail, recognize the differences, appreciate and gently imbibe the wonders, without judgment.


Take a good selection of Drawing & Sketching Pencils, Artists' Pencils, Water Colour pencils -Derwent. Scalpel. Bulldog clips. ***Tombo acid free Brush pens. Pilot drawing pens Nos 2,3 & 5, Mouldmade 100% cotton paper loose A4 and A3 sheets, and spiral bound book, it is ideally suited for watercolor techniques, acrylics, charcoal, pastel and pencil-Neutral pH and acid-free as well as chlorinefree. A1-size sealable plastic bags, 5 x 0-5 fine sable hair brushes.A4/A4 Tracing paper sheets. Eye drop bottles with distilled water. A good piece of A4/A3 marine ply board.


Begin with the end in mind.


The map is not the territory


Meet the locals


Nomadic artists can take their skill anywhere in the world and, with few materials, can enjoy brilliant cross- cultural communication and follow other interests, such as social development or wildlife conservation. All artists should travel with a flexible mind on subject matter. However, if you are determined to catch a particular subject, then do your research and go to the right place for it. Nudist beaches are great if you want to do life drawing! Travel with good people.


If you spend longer than a couple of days sketching in a place you will soon be regarded as a regular, even as a fellow worker, and you find that you are accepted and welcomed by local people. This brings a great sense of belonging. Your images (especially portraits) can work for you as passports in touristhostile places and you can win people's hearts if you depict subjects of local pride providing you with an accurate social document.


Creativity adds a further dimension to the riches of travel. The keen observation needed for taking down visual images gives a heightened awareness of a new environment. You take time to look at detail, recognize the differences, appreciate and gently imbibe the wonders, without judgement.


Lastly, remember that the time you spend is encapsulated in the finished artwork, meaning that in months and years to come you can look at a painting and recall that concentrated timeframe in all its magical detail.


Then paint... exhibit... and sell.


Questions ? email gary@responseabilityalliance.com


Recording Your Travels and Expeditions