Monday, May 10, 2010

3 Reasons a Sketchbook -Journal is Important for Artists

Mother's Day Azaleas, watercolor, 6x8, Jan Blencowe

I've been keeping sketchbook/journals for many years now and I'm going to share with you the top 3 reasons that I love this practice...

1.) I have a place to record with both pictures and words things I find delightful.

" Survival lies in sanity, and sanity lies in paying attention...My Grandmother knew what a painful life had taught her: success or failure, the truth of a life really has little to do with its quality. The quality of life is in proportion, always, to the capacity for delight. The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention." ~ Julia Cameron 

I pay attention by using a sketchbook.

2.) I need a place to play, experiment and make mistakes free from the pressure to produce "finished" works.

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.~
Dilbert created by Scott Adams

Without my sketchbook my creativity would have no place to run a muck.
3.) My sketchbook is a place to grow and to record growth.  Looking back through past sketchbooks is both rewarding and enlightening. A sketchbook-journal helps you live your creative vision. Journaling, memoir writing and arts for self-expression, contribute to healing and personal growth.

The azaleas in the watercolor sketch above came from my mom's garden. Back in the early 1950's just after my mom & dad were married and moved from Brooklyn, into their home on Long Island my Grandmother bought my mom a deep red-pink azalea. It grew to a prodigious size. When my mother moved here to Connecticut, she brought with her  a baby off shoot of that mammoth azalea. Now eleven years later it too has grown to an amazing size. The other azaleas white, pink and purple we planted in her garden the year she moved in to her home in Connecticut. She brought these over on Mother's Day in a beautiful blue vase for me.

The rest of Mother's Day I spent with my daughter at the Renaissance Faire, some of which I recorded in my sketchbook...

Costumed folks watching the many performances throughout the day made excellent models!

Here we see evil King John presiding over a joust. 

The rest of the weekend included time to get out to sketch at the beach and in the marsh....

Dunes near the End of the Day, 4x8, watercolor sketch, Jan Blencowe

The Golden Hour in the Marsh, 6x8, watercolor, Jan Blencowe


Kathleen Pequignot said...

I love The Golden Hour!!! The olive greens against the golden yellows creates such a nice, warm feeling. :) Thanks for sharing your thoughts on keeping a sketchbook. I totally understand. My books are all over the place--filled with collage, ink, watercolor, doodles. It is a place to really unwind!

Cheri said...

Nice, thanks for the wonderful post and to record that place in time, I will start! Your work is beautiful!

Becky Joy said...

Nice little watercolors. Interesting read with your recordings of your day.

AutumnLeaves said...

Beautiful pieces, all of them Jan. Of course, the Ren Faire pieces have a bit of a different mood and style, but they are delightful. I think I am missing an essential trait of artists everywhere. Patience.

Evelyn McCorristin Peters said...

Wonderful post Jan. I have just begun using a sketchbook to record everything that passes through my mind of ideas for future work. I am headed to see family tomorrow and am going to give my first shot at watercolor. I can only hope that some day I will be able to use this medium nearly as well as you!

A.Decker said...

Very Nice. Thanks for sharing these. I especially like "Golden Hour..." and I totally agree with keeping sketch journals, for all your reasons, at least. I have them all the way back to the 70's, and wish I'd kept the earlier ones.

I hope it's ok, but I'm putting you on my blogroll at A. Decker Art.

Robyn said...

What a pleasure it would be to look through your sketchbooks. I also love your Golden Hour watercolour. You've really captured the light.