Would you rather savor the joys of home or travel to France?
The first, When Wanderers Cease to Roam, I bought several years ago. It's publication date is 2008. Subtitled A Traveler's Journal of Staying Put, it is Ms. Swift's record, captured in words and watercolors, of coming to rest for a year in a village on the Long Island Sound after ten years of world travel.
Through the pages of her monthly entries Ms. Swift shares her days and nights, reminisces about her many travels, records the weather, introduces her cats and neighbors, looks to the stars, drinks tea, muses on sweaters and mittens, and finds new uses for her now languishing suitcases.
I know why I bought this book - I love Ms. Swift's watercolors and illustrations. They express the joy of the every day. Simple lines. Clear colors. All that I strive for in my own sketchbook renderings.
The text is handwritten by the author which would normally put me off, but the words are clearly formed and not at all difficult to read. Her writing is energetic and entertaining. I feel I have stumbled upon one of her secret art journals.
Her collection of teacups
I am looking forward to the colors of autumn
that Vivian Swift captures here.
As enamored as I was with her first book, I was delighted to discover that Ms. Swift has a second book titled Le Road Trip. It has a publication date of 2012 and lucky for us she gave up on staying put. Here is her chronicle of a trip to France with her husband James. In her inimitable style she paints the sites of Paris, Bayeux, the Normandy beaches, Mont Saint-Michel, Chartres (all places I have been), and the villages and towns in Brittany and Bordeaux (haven't made it there yet).
Laundry day in Normandy
Although it is a book about her travels in France it is also a book about the art of travel: the anticipation, comforts and discomforts, ups and downs, wrong turns, dimly lit hotel rooms, and coming home.
It is full of more of her lovely illustrations — cafes, steeples, gardens, and countrysides — and her lively text. But, be warned: this book may prompt your own excursion to Paris and beyond.
Ooh-là-là! That could be a good thing.