With the change of each new season I begin a new sketch journal. This pumpkin came home with us from the grocery last week so it marks the first sketch in my Autumn sketch journal.
Here is my now retired Summer journal and my newly begun Autumn sketch journal is the blue and white one on the top. It makes the eighth journal that I have made myself for my sketching use. Since the very first one that I began in the winter or '09-'10, I have consistently made and started each new journal with the beginning of each season. At first it just worked out that way. Now it's something that I have to do. Every quarter turn of the year I am planning and constructing a new sketchbook. I have never run short of pages yet I don't always fill every page before the next Equinox or Solstice arrives. And sometimes I think I should just wait until I completely fill the current sketch journal before moving on to the next, but I don't. The urge to start again with the new season has become too great. It's my ritual now, I suppose.
In case you are wondering, my handmade sketchbooks wouldn't win any prizes in bookbinding, that's for sure. But they do work very well for me. The pages are 5.5 x 7.5 inches. With this size I don't have any paper waste when tearing down the paper for the signatures. It takes two full sheets (22 x 30") to make one sketch book. I also like working with this scale and proportion as a sketching format. I have seven signatures of Canson Edition paper, which is a sturdy, multi-media paper that I enjoy. I have used bright white, cream, antique white, vanilla, I like them all. I also have a signature in the front and in the back that have one sheet of Canson Edition on the outside and plain, old copy paper, about 10 sheets, inside each. So there are 9 signatures total in my sketchbooks. In the first signature (with the copy paper) I paste in calendar pages and use these as planning pages. In the last signature with the copy paper I keep a written journal, reflecting on what has happened during that season. I use fabric for the covers of these books, mining my stash left over from sewing days. I may actually have to break down and buy some more fabric soon though. I have used various papers for the end papers inside the cover, most often Mi-Teintes, again, because I happened to have that sitting around. A pocket inside the back cover and a ribbon bookmark makes it complete. And that's how I make my sketch journals. For now, anyway.
"All my journals are like strangers to me when I meet them
and are my best friends by the time I have to say good-bye."
Sitting here in our mountains on these cool, wet foggy days, I find myself longing for the Low Country. A wide horizon with a watery view. This is a quick sketch from one of my many photos, done with watercolor pencils and a little colored pencil over top.
A little here and a little there and I have finally reached a stopping point with this drawing. It still needs a bit of cleaning up, and I may still do some tweaking, but I am ready to let this on sit a while.
This little sea urchin is one of our beach finds and now lives in a pretty glass bowl on a table near our front entrance, along with other treasures from the sea. Now to select my next project. I have been thinking about getting those oils out again, but do I really have the time? Hmmm. . .
Busy days lately. I still haven't established a workable routine for myself since we started back full time with our homeschooling schedule a few weeks ago. I suppose I was spoiled with summer's lack of structure. Now that we are back at the books my days just slip away. When I realized how long it had been since I had scribbled anything in my sketchbook (or work on any other art), I stole a few moments last Saturday to sit in the sunshine on the deck and play with watercolor.
It poured rain all day yesterday, as tropical storm Lee made its way up through our Southern mountains. So we did what any family would do on a washed out Labor Day holiday - we made pickles. I've had my mother-in-law's pickle recipe for years but never tried to make her delicious bread and butter pickles. Thinking about those pickles recently inspired us to give it a try. We bought a ton of locally grown, organic cucumbers (because you know we didn't grow cucumbers ourselves!) and pint jars, and set to work boiling jars and heating vinegar. Several hours later we had 10 pint jars filled and just a few left over cukes. It was a good pickle day.