Off the Map

Who's the proud teacher!

April 11th 2012

Here’s a hand-drawn map by Betsy Booz, who attended one of my workshops. The problem with teaching a one-day workshop is that it’s nearly impossible for me to accomplish more than provide basic direction, and nearly impossible for attendees to design and complete a map in one shot: that’s why I’m going to teach three-session workshops from now on. Hazel Jarvis, featured recently, took her idea home and painted a map on canvas; Betsy, who lives here in town, returned to my studio for a couple of little refresher sessions. Her nostalgic map, executed in colored pencil and pen on watercolor paper, shows the camp she and a friend attended when they were kids–in fact, she made the map as a gift for this friend.  At home, Betsy worked on the map in leisurely fashion, weighing design options, and ended up providing a key beneath the round map to identify salient locations. Note her interesting use of negative space on either side of the map at the top, and her use of the map convention called “breaking borders.”

Highland Fever a la Ciao Domenica

April 9th 2012

Sunday Taylor has once again featured a map of mine in Ciao Domenica, her exquisite blog about literature, travel, gardens, and the beauty of life.  Sunday used my recent Scottish Highlands map (you’ve seen it!) as a departure for a lovely and literary commentary on travel and the associations certain place names evoke. She included four photos taken by Meg Moulton, my fellow hiker and sister-in-law. This photo shows a beautiful scene just north of Loch Lomond. For this post and others, visit

A Map by Hazel Jarvis

April 4th 2012

Enough of my maps–here’s a wonderful map by Hazel Jarvis, who attended one of my round map workshops last spring. Wow, I’m a phenomenal teacher, right? Alright, full disclosure: Hazel Jarvis is an accomplished and inventive painter in her own right–visit her website,The Art of Hazel Jarvis. Furthermore, she teaches painting at her lovely home studio and at The Garden Education Center of Greenwich; if I lived in Fairfield County, I’d be tempted. While I can’t claim to have taught her a thing about painting, I did provide the pointers  she needed to create this map, which is, by the way, 16″ in diameter, acrylic on canvas. But you don’t have to be an artist of Hazel’s caliber to make a great map–if you attended one of my workshops, and want to share your work, speak up!

Highland Fling: Another Map on Paper

March 30th 2012

Last September, Duncan and I hiked Scotland’s famous West Highland Way with our hiking pal Sydney and with Duncan’s sister Margaret: seven days, 95 miles, heather, mist, driving rain  (but just one day), sheep, Highland cattle, Loch Lomond, gorgeous and often wild landscapes, B & B’s, 18th century inns, salmon, scotch, scones, sticky toffee pudding, and wonderful camaraderie–among ourselves, and with other hikers. (We did this, by the way, through the Scottish travel outfitter Macs Adventure–they provided great maps,  arranged our lodgings, and conveyed our bags from point to point). The perfect occasion for a little commemorative map and as souvenirs for our beloved fellow travelers: I had copies scanned for Sydney and Margaret. Note that the route is long and vertical, but that didn’t stop me from popping it into a circle. I can’t help myself! The circle actually provided me with the “dead space” I needed for the title cartouche, designed to look like a bit of drapery; a written explanation of our week; a little key; and, on the left of the mapped route, a compass thistle (instead of a rose). I fashioned a border, but it’s as simple as can be. Like my Daily Rounds map, this is a 10″ circle within a 12″ square; unlike that map, this one isn’t a circumpunct–in other words, the map doesn’t radiate from a central point. Next up: maps by some of my workshop attendees.