Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sketchbooks and blogging

watercolor sketch in Moleskine watercolor journal

Today is my last day of winter break before kiddo and I return to our homeschool routine. So I am spending the day trying to tidy up any loose ends, finish up or at least organize ongoing projects, and generally just mentally preparing myself for our back-to-school routine. I have nearly finished reading Danny Gregory's latest book, An Illustrated Life, and wow - what an inspiration it is. I was struck by an observation from the artist, Paul Madonna, who said, ". . . sketching is like stretching. It helps you to stay loose."

You know I have mentioned before the value of sketching from life, and this phrase really nailed it for me. Doing all these little Everyday Matters sketches and all the other scribbling I put into my sketchbooks has this effect of helping me learn to see, and translate what I see from the three-dimensional world onto the two dimensional surface of a sketchbook page. You just can't get there from copying a photograph. It's more about being in the moment and learning to focus. And so when I do sit down with my photo reference to work on a more finished color pencil piece, what I have gained from all this scribbling and splashing watercolor around is a better understanding of color and form. I have already done the warm-up stretching.

You may have noticed that I did a bit of housekeeping on this blog. Sometimes I suffer a little angst over what exactly I want this blog to be about. It really has so little focus what with finished colored pencil art, ACEOs, sketchbook and family stuff. For now I have decided that all of that is okay with me, because it is all a part of my artistic process. I respect the wisdom of those who keep their blogs more on task, so to speak, but I feel this is more of an informal format for discussing my artistic journey. I added the little 'following thingy', which is kind of fun. But I still find myself just going through my bookmarks when I go blog hopping. I also added that blog roll thing. I thought that was pretty nifty when I started seeing it on other peoples' blogs. The problem with mine is that I have so many blogs to include. So I set it to just show 10 and then you can click to expand the list. I probably left off some that I had before, so I'll be working on putting those back in. And that's another thing, my criteria for adding links to other blogs. They are chosen because there is something about the work or the writing or both that inspires me in some way. I am not into screening for a particular perceived quality of work, level of professionalism, genre of art, or whatever. I have chosen these because they have a spirit for creativity that pushes me along when I visit there. I had thought about organizing them somehow into categories but aside from all the work of doing that, there are many that simply don't fit neatly into one category. So it's a very organic, eclectic list. And the other new item is that you now get a photo of me in the 'About Me' box. How about that.


Spinneretta said...

Looks good- I love fruits and veggies for subjects :)

Mary Timme said...

This is an interesting concept or two you've put forward. It's making me think of 'how' I work when I'm doing art stuff. So, I"m going to take a look at it (my methods) and see what it is that does it for me.

Teresa said...

Love the quote about sketching (an area I need to work on) and I like the fact that your blog is varied and well-rounded. Oh, and the pic... glad to finally "meet" you!

Jennifer Rose said...

oh very pretty colourful pears! :D

Not all blogs need a specific thing to focus on. I tend to read more the ones that talk about anything and everything, makes them more interesting sometimes. :)

Marie-Dom said...

Lovely work....and have enjoyed looking through your blog and reading your musings.

MILLY said...

I so agree about the working from real life. I need to have the object in my hand, not just to look but to feel and really understand it. And you can then see such detail, especially for pencil work.
Lovely to see you. I put a photograph of me, 30th wedding anniversary, at Venice.


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