A New, Short-Term Project

I love the Internet.  There are so many interesting opportunities in the ether that I sometimes have a hard time restraining myself from committing to too many projects.  However, an idea has been brewing in my mind the last month or so, and it brings together a few of my favorite recent things about the Internet.

Artists Sketching in the White Mountains, by Winslow Homer, 1868 (public domain)

Artists Sketching in the White Mountains, by Winslow Homer, 1868 (public domain)

The Virtual Paintout – You may have heard of sketch outs and paint outs, where artists gather at a specific location to sketch together.  It’s a social activity meant to encourage community while giving you an opportunity to practice your sketching or painting skills on location.  The Virtual Paintout works on this idea, except in a virtual environment.  Every month, they choose a general location – this month, it’s Bulgaria.  You visit the location using Google Maps Street View.  You just zoom in close, put the little man down on the map, and start walking around until you find something you would like to sketch or paint.  You can choose to share your work in the online community via the blog/Facebook page.  This is something I’ve wanted to try for over a year, because who couldn’t use an extra incentive to sketch more?

One of my favorite blogs is by artist, Roz Stendahl.  I found out about her when she taught a free online workshop through Strathmore Artist Papers’ Virtual Classroom a couple of years back, when they released a new mixed media sketchbook aimed at artists who journal.  She sketches everywhere she goes, working primarily in ink and gouache, and her blog is full of great inspiration, product reviews, and some other surprise things.  Roz runs a project she calls International Fake Journal Month.  Every April, she creates (and encourages others to create) a character or alter ego, and for the month of April, keep a journal as though you were that character.  The idea is that keeping a short-term journal with a completely different mindset might free you from some of the fears you experience while working in your usual journal.  It can lead to fresh experimentation and new discoveries simply because you know it’s temporary and “not really you.”  I have been fascinated by this idea for a couple of years, but I hadn’t really figured out how to participate.

Photo by Kafziel, under Creative Commons license.

Photo by Kafziel, under Creative Commons license.

My most recent favorite thing is a web site recently put up by a friend who loves a good long-distance, through-hike – Walking4Fun.  Many of us own and use a pedometer, and at his web site, you can choose a hike and log your daily steps.  As you input your steps, you advance along the trail as though you were hiking it, and the web site includes a map so you can see your progress, as well as photos he has taken, so you can see some of the sights along the way.  I’m on the Chemin Le Puy in France, right now, which is a stretch on the legendary Camino de Santiago de Compostela.  And guess what?  The route has lots of places to walk your little man from Google Maps Street View.

So, I got to thinking, I am likely NEVER to take such a hike for real.  It’s been kind of neat traveling the road virtually as I walk my steps during my regular exercise.  I could use some more practice sketching, because I sort of stopped in the madness at the end of the year.  I’m going to give this year’s International Fake Journal Month a try. I will start my walk over and I’ll be sketching in a travel book as a hiker on this famed road for religious pilgrims.  I will sketch from photos at Walking4Fun (with permission) and also from Street View a-la-Virtual Paintout.  I think it would be fun to learn about the country along the way. I’ll share some of the work here on my blog.

It may seem kind of nutty, but I hope it is as fun and interesting for you as it will be for me.

This entry was posted in Art Places and Events, International Fake Journal Month, Visual Journals and tagged , , .


  1. Jeri April 2, 2013 at 3:59 am #

    I count on you for fun and nutty. I’m looking forward to your posts.

  2. Jeri (Ron's, not Leon's) April 2, 2013 at 4:29 am #

    Sounds like productive fun!! Bring on the nutty.

  3. vst3in April 2, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    Awesome. Just. Awesome. You know, it would be really fun to join you on the same trail, to walk alongside, and write about what I see and post THAT on MY blog. What do you think? PS I’d like join Walk4Fun too, but I recently broke my 8th pedometer. Hmmm. Time to go shopping.

  4. Lisa Harkins April 2, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

    That would be really fun! I bet it could be really good for your writing (Roz encourages the writers too). I plan to do some other web research on the way to learn more about the area and feel more like I’m there.

    I absolutely love the Omron pedometer. Bought it on the recommendation from Walking4Fun, and it’s a little more pricey, but it really can be shoved into any pocket and still register accurate steps. It’s pretty awesome.

  5. vst3in April 2, 2013 at 4:10 pm #

    Reblogged this on The Best of It and commented:
    This really inspires me. And I’m thinking of joining Lisa on this journey of hers, using the “Walking Man” to choose parts of the trail she (we?) follow to write about, an exercise in descriptive narrative. I’m not walking very far in real life these days, though my walking cast is freeing me up to move more each day. What do you think? Shall I take a journey with my friend?

  6. joantav April 4, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

    This sounds like a great fun project for International Fake Journal Month. I’m also participating, and will be back to check how you are doing.

  7. fibreisle April 4, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

    Thanks, Joan! I don’t see you in Roz’ list yet. I look forward to seeing what you’re up to. I’m finding part of the fun is how much my Feedly page is growing. Ha!

  8. Michelle Himes April 5, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

    Wow! Great minds think alike. My alter ego this year is actually “Google Map Guy”. LOL! I think I will enjoy seeing what you see along your virtual walks.

  9. fibreisle April 6, 2013 at 5:44 am #

    Thanks, Michelle! I smiled when I saw your project. It was the first of several new feeds in my blog reader. I’m really loving your little sketches.

  10. Dianne April 9, 2013 at 7:22 pm #

    sounds like a fun trip…looking forward to see where you go!

  11. Anne the SpyGirl April 17, 2013 at 12:34 am #

    I LOVE the virtual paint out idea! Will investigate (not for SpyGirl, which is my fashion blog, but for my actual art-making self!)

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  1. […] up together back in April.  It was a very short-term project that you can read about in my post here, and in her post here.  The month of April has long passed, and spring and summer saw us both busy […]

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