Mission Statement

This blog journals my quest of art, whether it is a piece of work that is inherent in nature or one created by artists known or unknown or that I created myself. During this search, I have come to appreciate the magnificence and generosity of God who in his infinite wisdom surrounded us with exquisiteness everyday...everywhere and inspired our human spirit to create beauty that feeds our bodies and souls. Come join me on my journey to find art through my travels and my own creative endeavors. Maraming salamat.

All rights to all posts and contents on this blog, including photos and artwork are reserved by jojo sabalvaro tan.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Aquarelle Carnet de Voyage (Watercolor Travel Journal)

One of the many one lane country roads in Normandy we were pleasantly lost in. The theme song for this trip is 'Two for the Road' even though there were three of us and sometimes four.

Here are pages from my watercolor journal for a recent trip we took to Europe where we visited The Netherlands, Belgium and France. Our base for the trip was Den Haag (The Hague) and we drove from there to Belgium, Normandy, Brittany and Paris. In the Netherlands, we visited Amsterdam and Delft. I will be featuring the areas we saw in future blogs but, in the meantime, here is a preview from my pen and watercolor work inspired by these places.

I started out by sketching the scene in pencil. I am using the spiral bound 15 sheet  Carnet de Voyage Travel Book by Arches (140 lbs cold pressed watercolor paper, 6" x 10") .

And then i finalized the sketch by going over it with a super fine black Pitt pen.

Then I applied watercolor. I used a Winsor Newton Travel Box. And a #8 Isabey Petit Gris and #5 Daler Rowney synthetic brushes

These are the results.......


During our early morning stroll in Honfleur, we happened upon this old lady walking in front of a Biscuits/Calvados store. I just had to capture the moment.


A Bicycle in Delft. I wanted to capture the  iconic bicycle you find everywhere in Netherlands.


The Bayeux Tapestry was displayed in this cathedral originally. Now it is housed in a former monastery turned museum. It is still displayed at the monastery for two weeks once a year for the benefit of the citizens of Bayeux. The cathedral itself is undergoing major restoration. the inside is almost 100% completed and one can see how it looked centuries ago when it was first built. Yogi and I both thought it would be wonderful to get married there.


Our view from our hotel (Hotel Arvor). We walked around town following the ramparts and went down to the River Rance on foot on steep cobbled stone streets. This old and quaint medieval town is full of Brittany charm.


I sketched this from the balcony of a dear friend's house. Paris is truly an artist's dream.


Our base for this trip, Den Haag is a city of old and new. I show Tram #1 which takes you to the center of old town.


It's been 33 years since we last visited Amsterdam. We took a canal cruise and found many changes, yet no change at all.


Our GPS took us right through the inside of the thick stone walls of the ramparts of the old town, down narrow streets and we ended up, to our surprise, right at this bridge (moat)  into this Chateau. We were sure we were not supposed to be there.


Butte-du-Leon - A request stop by Dennis who was kind enough to put up with all the churches without complaining. Waterloo is the site of Napoleon's defeat to Wellington.


The Carmel Monastery where St. Therese entered at the age of 15. In the chapel, lays her relics tucked into a  waxed recreation of her dying moment.


The Ghent Belfry as seen from St. Bavo's Cathedral, where the Van Eyck Altarpiece is on display. On this trip, we targeted seeing as many UNESCO world heritage sites as possible. Many of the old belfries of The Netherlands, Belgium and Northern France are listed.


Here with Rory, at La Chaloupe d'Or  on Grande Place, indulging in our favorite activity during this trip - sitting at cafes drinking, eating and people watching on the main squares.


Brugge, the Venice of the North,  is one of our most favorite cities visited on this trip. The entire old town is a UNESCO world heritage site. It was a magical place that entered your soul.


One of the main purposes for taking this trip was to see Mont Saint Michel, often named on the list of  places to visit before you die. It was truly awesome.

I had fun painting this journal. I hope you enjoyed it. Merci! Dank je! Danke!


  1. This is fabulous! You can make cards out of these originals.

  2. Bravo Jojo! You know, as I was opening your post, the radio started playing "Two for the Road". How much of a coincidence was that!

  3. Awesome work! :) The Paris one is my favorite!

  4. What a lovely collection of memories you would never capture if you relied upon photographs alone.