Saturday, 8 February 2014

Toe in the water...

sketch  (skĕch)
1. A hasty or undetailed drawing or painting often made as a preliminary study.
2. A brief general account or presentation; an outline.
a. A brief, light, or informal literary composition, such as an essay or a short story.
b. Music A brief composition, especially for the piano.
c. A short, often satirical scene or play in a revue or variety show; a skit.
4. Informal An amusing person.
v. sketchedsketch·ingsketch·es
To make a sketch of; outline.
To make a sketch.

I was so traumatised** at starting this project that I decided to check the dictionary to see how Sketch is defined. I was quite pleased, as I felt there was enough scope there for me to at least qualify as an Amusing Person...

 I am a regular sketch booker, which perhaps makes this project even more daunting than if I were just beginning. I use my books for scribbling, for trying things out (trying on, trying out, trial run), for experimenting and for demonstrating things to students. A bit like a conversation with lines and blobs and arrows.. And the odd shopping list thrown in.

Being included with a group of botanical artist, whose work is simply delicious, exchanging sketch books, is an honour. I am not a botanical painter, but I do paint nature all the time. Maybe I'm a Nature-al painter.

But I warn you about my sketch books.. They're a free flowing jumble of lines and a place to declutter my thoughts, to unscramble the chaos and create order on my desk. They're not neat. So, dear ladies, when you receive it in the post over the months to come, I would be delighted if you welcomed it like a wayward child, home for some warm dinners before going off into the world again.

Front end papers (a photocopy of an oil painting I'm working on currently) - in colour on the back
So, I'm about Trees.  I just love trees and in particular, the shapes of in-between areas, the sky encased by branches and the patterns they make. I think we all have an affinity with Green, and walking outside (particularly in the woods) is one of the most uplifting things we can do for our creativity and for our Selves. I meet my self, while walking in the woods.

First page
Just after doing the tree above, I noticed lovely, tiny little bits of moss growing on the bathroom windowsill (on the OUTSIDE!) so stood in the bath to get a better view and included them on the side of the page.  Isolated like this, they look a bit like sweet chestnuts. Or pin cushions, or sea anenomes, or even a planet surrounded by stars.  They were only about 3mm in width.

Second page. Drawn on a google map, the trees from the location!
 A few days later I was at a meeting, and sat in the car afterwards drawing the trees in the car park, which were interesting for their patterns. I had forgotten my book (see what I mean about Chaos?)  (one rarely has all the right equipment for true spontaneity.. somehow, being prepared means we may never really feel like doing anything), so I drew on the google map itself, using the only pencil I could find lurking at the bottom of my handbag - a 5B, which was better than using lipstick anyway.

The back of the map, larger colour pencil of mossy windowsill, going onto dark grey card on the right. 

end papers at the back

** Traumatised: fiddling about in a book for ones own personal reference is one thing, but posting it off to another person for them to add to before sending to the next person in the list, is quite another. It's not only personal but public. Yikes. Even worse, I will receive theirs, and add my double spread of messy de-clutter to their personal patch. Mixing it up is scary. I think we're all VERY BRAVE.

I loved doing this, it feels different. There's a question here - what will I do that will provide something for me as well as contribute to the  others who will share it?

We'll see!


  1. Hey Julie, I was thinking I was the messiest person so far!! Glad to see I have company. It's liberating to see your journal.

  2. Julie, this is lovely. I love your pages and will be thrilled to have your 'mess' (it isn't really!!) in my book. Trees are fabulous; at every season. Can't wait to see this for real...just a few months.

  3. Julie, this is so lovely and so creative!! Well done!!