Wednesday, 12 March 2014

The 2nd month...

Well, when I received Aislinn's sketch book, I was...... speechless. My own book had been 'lurking', blankly, for ages. No matter where I'd put it, I could feel it's black cover 'tsk'-ing at my lack-of-starting.  Did it not KNOW I was suffering with that lack-of-starting SYNDROME?!?! Of course, there is nothing like a deadline to focus the mind, I did some drawings and I posted it off to Ida, thinking the worst (as in, that initial 'dread') was over. 


Receiving Aislinn's book was both an honour and a horror. Honour - such a thing of beauty will inspire all who hold it in their hands and certainly filled me with awe. 
Horror that I had to fill the next pages. Oh. No. 

So, the right thing to do was put the book away for as long as humanly possible and pretend I didn't have to do anything at all. Very sensible. 
Well, that was ok for a week. Then I could feel it's covers nagging at me, even when I wasn't in the same room. So eventually there was nothing else for it, but to turn the page and try my hand at the exercise I'd given my students - a bit of painting without drawing. Straight to water and colour. 

It was a relief to work so differently. I think one of the biggest challenges about this Share-ative process is to Own the pages that we are doing, while we are doing them. We aren't competing with each other (in fact, I have rarely felt so supported in a group, ever. Lovely women, all ), we are contributing. And in spending many hours on these pages, I realised that we are gifting each other. This is Aislinn's book, and I have done two spreads - for Aislinn. 
The first was lillies, loosely painted, giving attention to shape, composition, in-between space and spacial relationships. I used a really limited colour palette. 

The second spread is a drawing of a log stack at my local park. I've had my eye on this for a while. I love the patterns on tree bark - they echo the shapes of dry stone walls and could easily be reflections in water too. I used a variety of pencil grades.

It's interesting reading about the other artists opinion of the paper in these sketch books. I am actually finding it hard to use! Certainly the paper holds water colour, but I find it does that in a 'dry' way - it doesn't flow, it makes it literal and a little unplayful. For pencil work, I was surprised to find the paper made soft pencils perform like harder ones. The upshot is that I think it is suited to precise work more than a 'meandering thought of a drawing'. I wonder if it might therefore encourage precision..? But don't worry, I refuse to be beaten by a piece of paper... next month I might get all gluey and stick in different paper.

Or maybe I won't...!


  1. Loved this post and love your sketches! Well done!

  2. I swore I would never use OMG! but I just have to Julie. Your blogpost made me laugh- a tonic after a long day. I am very humbled by your response to my work too. I love your pages. I don't know if I would have the courage to just paint without drawing first- such rich, strong images. Wonderful!

  3. Just SO loving everyone's approaches, all different! These are great looking pages and a terrific blog post. Am getting all itchy to see for real!! And I so love where you said about 'owning the pages' when that particular book is with you... Brilliant. Thanks for sharing Julie.

  4. I recognized a lot of the 'behaviours' in your blog, Julie! You keep reminding me that I should loosen up and not worry about those double page spreads ;)

  5. You filled the pages wonderfully !