“My sketchbook is a witness of what I am experiencing, scribbling things whenever they happen.” - Vincent Van Gogh
Having a rather nomadic existence, adventuring between countries, means settling in the studio to work can be a challenge. So, my sketchbook becomes more important than ever. I love it; it comes with me wherever I go. It serves as a visual diary, notebook and collation of ideas and inspiration. Sketches, quick paintings, colour palette exploration and experimental play, make up my content. I love to see the wide variety of other artists’ sketchbooks – always as personal and creative. It gives an insight to the character and vision of each artist.
I keep all my sketchbooks as they are part of my creative journey. I spend a considerable amount of time choosing each sketchbook; selecting a leather bound or fabric-covered, homemade paper or Japanese rice paper, large for expansive expression or small to tuck into any bag. Pages will be smeared in charcoal or the earth from where I’m working, drenched in inks or high-pigmented water-colours, marked with quick, scratchy pencil sketches, collaged, all building my encyclopaedia of ideas.
From Sketchbook to Painting:
The journey from this to a painting is a convoluted process. Several versions of a concept will be explored in various media, blocked out in tonal contrast and drawn out in various compositions. However, as each painting develops it takes on a life of its own and I treasure the relationship between me, as the artist, and the painting as a living, growing work in its own right. It may sound strange but this dynamic is what keeps the energy and balance of each piece.
“Poetry is any page from a sketchbook of outlines of a doorknob with thumbprints of dust, blood, dreams.” - Carl Sandberg
For those of you starting out on your creative journey, or, if you are an artist in need of a little kickstart which we all need periodically, I recommend The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron. She guides you through daily exercises to cultivate personal creativity and confidence.