Sketchbook Sunday

I don’t think there is ever a week that goes by that I don’t do some work in my sketchbooks. They are a valuable resource to me – as long as I have these beginnings of ideas worked out on paper, I will never be short of inspiration for larger pieces.

journal page

I aim to paint a journal page a week – just giving myself permission to paint what comes, no planning, it doesn’t have to look nice or be neat and tidy – just playing around with images, shapes and ideas. The above page was inspired by some old photos I have of fishing communities and whilst the perspective is all wrong, I enjoyed painting it nonetheless.

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I am back to making a drawing a day (more or less) in my small moleskine – over the last 2 years or so I have dipped in and out of this habit which can last months and always reveals surprises and the odd wee gem – sometimes inspired by images I have seen, sometimes just out of the muddle of my thoughts.

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I often flick through these pages before starting to paint, waiting for a particular image to inspire me in some way – and they usually do. When I am sketching daily, it is often alongside a period of change and development in my work – it helps me pass around the corners of uncertainty and means I very rarely suffer from the dreaded ‘artists block’.

sketchbook pages

So – at first glance – just a book of random images – in reality, the key to a happy studio!

Try it and see!

PS – just in case you are wondering – the larger painted book is my A3 watercolour moleskine (beautiful paper for painting, takes any amount of paint) and the smaller is the smallest moleskine sketchbook with beautifully smooth pages for pencil or pen. I would not be without these.

x x x

Sketchbook Sunday

Painted moleskine

Sundays were made for working in sketchbooks right? I think so. I have several on the go at all times but probably my favourite one is my large A3 watercolour Moleskine.

I have taken it to the last few shows I have exhibited at and it gets as much attention (if not more, dammit) as my framed work. People love flicking through the pages, running their hands over them (I don’t mind really) or holding the edges of each page with a kind of reverence, surprised that I allow anyone to look through. I do because I love seeing that expression on someone’s face who gets it. Who feels the way that I do. That paint is magical and to have that medium to express yourself is truly a treasure.

I paint in this book in the way that I would like to paint on canvas. With complete freedom to make lines and put down colours with no thought or worry about it having to be perfect. An idea for a painting or just a face that is waiting to be put on paper. Whatever I feel at that moment in time.

This was today’s and I kind of like ‘him’. I am pretty sure it is a Him.

x x x

Today on my worktable …

Today on my worktable …, originally uploaded by gilfling.

Well actually this was yesterday on my work table – I still have to make it up the stairs to my work table today!

So I have decided (once again) that I can’t always dedicate the time to long well thought out blog-posts and that possibly a wee snippet and a photo is better than nothing in the meantime? I always have something to share, even if it is just an image of my work table or my daily sketches that I have returned to when I have a free moment during the day. It wouldn’t be so bad if much of my blog was more photographic and a diary of what I get up to on a daily basis. I LOVE looking at what others get up to in their working lives and find it inspiring so that is the way I am going to go for now.

I have been feeling so under the weather lately and it is good to have something to refocus my mind whilst I am trying to work through the fog. It also helps me to remember how lucky I am to be doing what I do. Every day is different.

Yesterday was photographing and listing brooches in my Seek & Adore shop as it has been looking a little neglected since Christmas. Today I need to do some character making and get things together for tomorrow afternoon demonstrating my work at The National Centre for Craft and Design. I hope it doesn’t snow for the drive there. As much as I like snow, I don’t care for driving in it. It can snow as much as it likes on Sunday when I am home!

A sketch a day…

Last year I began the year with a sketch a day. Just a wee drawing in my small moleskine, often drawn just at bedtime with sleepy eyes and fuzzy thoughts. Sometimes they took just five minutes, sometimes as many as twenty.

I managed this pretty consistently for the first months, fizzled out, returned and then fizzled out again. It was a really interesting exercise. Often I thought I was just rehashing the same ideas and images over and over again, never really visualising anything new. But looking back at these tiny black books filled with ivory and grey dreams I see how precious they are. They are like a stop motion film of my thoughts. I have taken them to a couple of shows and placed them on my table and people love flicking through them and seeing something new.

So I am going to return to this lost habit and see where it takes me. I aim to do a lot more painting this year and these tiny sketches help develop ideas that may or many not reappear in larger artworks. Scanning each and every page became a little laborious last year and as a consequence I have many pages that I have not shown. You can see those that I did, here.

So this year with the help of my new lifeline – my phone and instagram, I shall instead take a photo of each 2 page spread and perhaps show the best ones in my blog once a week. Some turn out better than others.

I am excited about giving myself a creative challenge every month this year partly inspired by one of my favourite artists Cathy Cullis who has written the most excellent blog post about creative challenges here. I think I will change it up a little every month and sometimes a month will have daily challenges and sometimes weekly. I am hoping the daily sketch will be something I can continue throughout the year but I am going to make January easy for myself and also make it my daily task for this month. I will be looking for ideas for February! Cathy is making a hand-bound artists book a week for January so I am quite tempted by this idea.

Have you set yourself any creative tasks/challenges/goals for 2012? I would love to hear about them.

Thank you as ever for your comments!

x x x