Finding Inspiration for Art: More on Road Trips

I thought I’d share the result of Total Road Trip Inspiration overload. Because, gee: I just found this skirt when I organized my clothes in the storage building. You know: moving the winter clothes out of the closet and into storage and moving the spring and summer clothes in. It’s amazing what you find that you’d forgotten about. Well, if you kind of have a lifetime’s collection of clothes~~


We’ve taken tons of road trips in the almost-forty years we’ve been together, and when I started making Journal Skirts, back in the 90s, I had the idea that creating one for various trips would be the perfect way to record and remember some of the places we went and things we saw. I made several of these specifically for individual trips, but my favorite one is this one, made over several years–and still not finished. I added to it as things captured my imagination, and I want to show it to you to give you ideas for where you might gather images to use in your own work.

Here’s the front of the skirt:

Freeman-Zachery Travel Journal Skirt  2

And the back:
Freeman-Zachery Travel Journal Skirt 1

This tree was inspired by a drawing on a room service menu in a hotel somewhere (I can’t remember what town) in Northern California where we stayed after driving through the Redwood National Forest. It was just a simple sketch, but it captured perfectly the essence of our drive that day, plus it gave me an excuse to mix green paint colors when we got back home:Freeman-Zachery Travel Journal Skirt  3

This image, below, was inspired by an ad in a magazine. If you’ve ever stayed in downtown Santa Fe, you probably had several issues of these complementary magazines in your room, full of images of art in the galleries along Canyon Road. I melded all my favorite parts into one image, drawn free-hand:Freeman-Zachery Travel Journal Skirt  4

The orange beaded ohm symbol was inspired by yoga classes and a new tattoo:Freeman-Zachery Travel Journal Skirt  5

I think this one was inspired by a billboard or something. Or maybe I just made it up on the long trek through the desert. By car! Of course by car!Freeman-Zachery Travel Journal Skirt  6

The bear paw prints were inspired by a conversation with a woman selling silver bangles at the edge of the Indian Market in Santa Fe. Freeman-Zachery Travel Journal Skirt  7

I sat on a stone wall and sketched the iron scrollwork on the balcony across the street in the French Quarter and then altered and embellished it when I transferred it to the skirt. Freeman-Zachery Travel Journal Skirt  8

Inspired by the images at Mesa Verde.Freeman-Zachery Travel Journal Skirt  9

This was the first image inspired by the art car parked on Decatur Street in New Orleans. I’ve done others, and I later met Kelly Israel, the creator, and got to sit in the back of his Art Hearse.
Freeman-Zachery Travel Journal Skirt  10

In short, you never know where you’ll find an idea for a painting, a sculpture, a collage–or a skirt. Keep a travel journal, make sketches on napkins, take hundreds of photographs–whatever you need to take home with you to spark an idea later on.


Happy traveling!

An Illustrated JourneyGet tons of ideas from Danny Gregory’s book, An Illustrated Journey: Inspiration From the Private Journals of Traveling Arttists, Illustrators and Designers.


Ricë is the author of Living the Creative Life, Creative Time and Space, and Destination Creativity. She also blogs at The Voodoo Cafe.


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