Monday, September 12, 2016

sketchbook :: moving forward

For some time now I have been using my sketchbooks more as working sketchbooks than illustrated journals. They become filled with scribbles of ideas and notes, lots of notes. I have been feeling a bit stagnant with my art and new ideas keep popping up and my sketchbooks are the safe place to explore and try out various media and approaches to visual expression. And two recent events seem to have collided to inspire a renewed interest in my sketchbook studies and my approach to making art.
One was a recent drive up on the Blue Ridge Parkway where we and stopped at the Raven Rocks overlook, and I snapped several photos.
It was a glorious September day and I delighted in the clouds drifting in the bright blue sky creating shadows on the distant mountain ridges.
From those photo references I am working up sketchbook studies, focusing on what interests me most about each scene. I love the deepening of the late season greens along with the warm spots of sun on the mountain sides. I am trying out a variety of media, curious to see what happens with my mark making and color choices. Some, maybe a few, of these studies will eventually find their way into larger works. But for right now, the value is in the study.

And that is where the other recent event comes in. Last week I took part in Tara Leaver's 7 Day Challenge. The goal was to create a series of seven small works in as many days. The parameters of the challenge were left up to each artist to set for themselves. I chose to experiment with my approach to watercolor while working from one photo reference, exploring various views within that singular scene. It was a whirlwind of a week, creating a new work everyday all the while working in a way that was new and unfamiliar. I got out ALL my water media supplies and tested various approaches to getting marks of color on paper. It was a fun and enlightening experience as I learned just how much change I was comfortable with in my work and when the steps were too big to take all at once. It was with this exercise concentrated in one week that inspired me to return to the practice of creating sketchbook studies.
Here are the finished pieces from Tara Leaver's 7 Day Challenge. And here is her blog post wrapping up the experience with lots of wonderful art to see.

All of my sketchbook images above were made in a Strathmore 500 series mixed media 8.5 x 11" sketch journal, using watercolor, graphite, watercolor pencils and crayons, and Inktense blocks.


Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

i really enjoyed seeing the photos you posted for the 7 day challenge on Instagram :) great seeing them all together :)

SusanA said...

Beautiful studies, and I like your thoughts on what you learned from challenging yourself.

Marva Plummer-Bruno said...

Oh how beautiful! I've been sketching up a storm as well, I need to get out and do more landscapes!


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