Artist’s Statement

Dorothy Deringer, November 16, 2012

All of my adult life I have traveled to interesting places—Soviet Central Asia, Eastern Europe, Japan.  But I didn’t start keeping records of these trips until 2006.


I do this now to remember what I have seen, but also to be active and involved in everything around me. I paint, write a travel journal, and take photographs which I make into books.  All of my paintings are done in front of the subject, or perhaps if I am in a train or a boat, from memory just after I have passed by.


This little book on Obelisks is one of more than fifty books of all types that I have made about my travels.

Why I Write and Paint Travel Journals:  Dorothy Deringer

 July 24, 2012


All of my adult life I have traveled to interesting places—Soviet Central Asia, Eastern Europe, Japan.  Some of these were business trips and some were for fun.   I kept no records, so sometimes I can’t even remember in what DECADE I took these trips.  So, first, I want to keep a written and visual record of my trips.


I have also observed other travelers who walk up to a famous place or building, take a picture, and never even look at the scene!  I don’t want to be that kind of traveler.   I want, second, to be active and involved in everything around me.


My first travel journal was a commercial miniature composition book describing my trip to Cordoba, Seville and Granada.  I took some pictures and made them into flip books.


I took drawing and painting classes, and book making classes, so I could go beyond photos for pictures of what I saw and make my own journals.  I experiment with new forms: miniature books, postcards collected into books, boxes, altered books, and this year I made a scroll.  While traveling, I collect paper, thread and other materials to bind my books in materials representative of the places I visit.


I try to capture what is going on around me.  On train trips, I try to give a feeling for what passes by the train window with a new painting every time the terrain changes.  Some of these scenes are gone in 5 seconds and I re-create from my mind’s eye what I have seen.  The best painting time is when I can sit down and have a place for my paints.  So I do lots of town squares and views from my hotel window or balcony!


Painting is also a nice way to meet people. Sometimes I have an audience; sometimes people just sit down to talk.  I also give away postcards I have painted to others on a trip to thank them for some consideration they have shown me.


At the end of a trip, binding and assembling my work and making the photo book are a nice way to re-live the trip and crystallize my impressions and experiences.  My final step is to number each piece and enter it in my catalog.  I’ll never again forget what decade I made these trips.




Photographer, Denise Rae Donegan




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