An American Painter in London

Tommie Hollingsworth-Williams opens her travel diary to reveal a journey through England’s finest painting locations.

On Collecting Memories:
I realized that I sketched too slowly on location and then never did anything with my sketches when I got home. So I began to take more notes and photographs—lots of photographs. Sometimes I would just sit and absorb a scene then write down the feelings and sensations I experienced in my journal. Of course, I still carried a Winsor & Newton tin travel set with 12 small tubes of paint, a couple of brushes and an Aquabee sketchbook in my suitcase, just in case.

Since film is expensive in England, I bought it in the United States and carried it in a lead-lined bag. I took all of the rolls of film out of their canisters and labeled each one with a letter of the alphabet. In my large, waterproof fanny/belly pack, I carried a 3×5-inch memo book and pen. (If it rained, my camera also went into the bag.) When I took a photograph, I recorded it in the memo book by writing the letter for the roll of film at the top of the page, then listing a numeral for each frame and describing the subject plus anything else of interest. That evening I would use the memo notes to write the day’s events in my journal. The journal was a 4×7-inch loose-leaf notebook. I preferred the loose sheets of paper because it allowed me to add pages wherever I wanted them.

Tommie Hollingsworth-Williams has traveled throughout the United States, Mexico and Europe. Her career as a watercolor artist began in 1993 after she retired from her position teaching history at the University of Southern Mississippi. A signature member of the Mississippi Watercolor Society and the Louisiana Watercolor Society, she’s won numerous awards for her work and been published in several magazines and books, including Splash 9 (North Light Books, 2006).

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