I have been keeping a travel art journal of the trips we make, and this was no exception. My journal consists of watercolor sketches featuring the places we visited. I used Arches Carnet de Voyage with 140# paper in a ring binder. I do a preliminary sketch with a pencil, then I would go over the pencil sketch with fine tip black permanent waterproof inch pen and then apply artist grade watercolor (Schminke and Daler Rowney, this time). I do on site sketching, but most of the time I use our photographs as reference for the sketches since it is difficult to sketch on the fly especially if you are in a group. On this trip, I found finding subjects to paint challenging and not as interesting because of the desert hues, which seemed monotonous and drab. So, I just gave it my best try. But then again, these are sketches and not meant to be masterpieces.
Here is the first installment of my journal.
After an overnight plane ride with a layover in Vienna, we landed at Ben Gurion airport in the afternoon and proceeded to our hotel on the Mediterranean coast of Tel Aviv. The next day we boarded our van with 10 other pilgrims with our guide Yaakov and driver Isaac and started our pilgrimage which would take us from Tel Aviv to our hotel in Tiberias (on the shores of the Sea of Galilee).
Tel Aviv- YafoOur first stop on the tour was the Old port of Jaffa (Yafo) which is now part of Tel Aviv. This sketch is of the Statue of Faith on the highest point of Old Jaffa. It features Jacob's dream, the sacrifice of Isaac ad the fall of Jericho. We also visited St. Peter's Church nearby.
|My pen sketch for the Statue of Faith|
|Statue of Faith in Jaffa|
We drove along the coast to the archaeological site of Caesarea built by Herod the Great about 25-13 BCE as a port city. The city was the seat of Judaea Province during the Roman Empire. The ruins of the old city is now a national park.
|Remains of the Roman Aqueduct serving the city of Caesarea|
HaifaOur next stop was Haifa, Israel's third largest city and a major seaport on Israel's northern Mediterranean coast and home to the Baha'i World Center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
|The Baha'i World Center in Haifa|
Mount Carmel (Muhraqa)Then we went atop Mount Carmel to a place called Muhraqa, where Elijah is believed to have resided and challenged 450 prophets to a contest at the altar to determine which deity was genuinely in control of the Kingdom of Israel. There is also a Stella Maris, Decalced Carmelite Sanctuary and Monastery on site.
|Elijah's Monument on top of Mount Carmel|
Tel Meggido (Armageddon)We then proceeded to another World Heritage site, Tel Meggido, also known under its Greek name Armageddon. In ancient times, Tel Meggido was important due to its strategic location at the head of a pass at Carmel Ridge into Jezreel Valley.
|Model of gate at Tel Meggido which I imagined overlooking Jezreel Valley|
We drove southeast towards Nazareth, the boyhood home of Jesus and where Joseph lived and worked as a carpenter and the Virgin Mary was told by the Angel Gabriel that she would conceive Jesus. It is a major Christian pilgrimage site and features the Church of the Annunciation and St. Joseph's Church, built on what tradition dictates as the site of the Annunciation and Joseph's house, respectively.
|Church of Annunciation, Nazareth |
with many depictions of Mary from different countries
Our last stop for the day before we reached our hotel in Tiberias was the Wedding Church run by the Franciscans in Kfar Cana or just Cana. Tradition places this site as where Jesus' first miracle of turning water into wine occurred. The Franciscan Church is steps away from the Russian Orthodox Church also believed to be the site of the miracle. Since they are so close together, one can assume that this is the general vicinity of the miracle.
|Russian Orthodox Wedding Church in Cana|
Next: Watercolor Travel Journal- Sketches from the Holy Land Part 2 - Around the Sea of Galilee and the Northern Border of Israel