Do you dabble in sketchbooks? I do and I’ve noticed a distinct difference in my style there – free, loose, instinctive – to my larger works on wood panels – more considered and detailed. I know of some other artists who have this very same issue and while we have discussed ways of moving our art out from our sketchbooks and into larger works, we’ve not come up with a definitive answer – or hadn’t until I found the way this week!
The solution was in the problem. I ‘dabble’ in sketchbooks. Recently I committed to a daily practice in my sketchbooks. Presently I have a day job that takes up a lot of my time and so there were lots of days I just didn’t do anything with paint. I wanted the benefits of a daily practice while still working at an outside job, so I committed to it.
I have been doing a spread a day in my tiny sketchbook. It doesn’t sound like much but it has made such a huge difference in many ways, and it allowed me to finally move my looseness onto a bigger board or two! Yay!
Here are sketchbook pages I recently did. I like to limit myself within my daily practice, it makes it so much easier. No decisions to make when all I have is 5 minutes, I can just turn up and do. These pages are from my ‘yellow oxide’ days – I committed to 10 days of yellow oxide, black and white paint only. Not long before I’d got some new-to-me solid markers, so decided to test them out as well, to see how the paint reacted with them. Simple. Three colours and a couple of markers.
Well wouldn’t you know, after stopping dabbling and committing, within a very short time my sketchbook style appeared in a new series of four paintings! It was so easy! I didn’t even think about it; it just happened.
I think the main reason it was easy and doable finally was not only because of my daily practice but because I made a small size transition as well. These paintings are small also, only 30cm square (12” x 12”). And they are gorgeous! The richness of the yellow oxide gleams through.
I’ve included a lot of collage in these, in fact they are pretty much covered with old workbook pages, brochures, packaging, lists and diagrams that I found when converting my Dad’s workshop/Mum’s storage room into my studio.
I’ve also taken the solid markers out of the sketchbook and onto the boards too as I just love the way it interacts with the paint, sometimes peaking through, sometimes shouting in fluro! There are other marks made with pencils there too. It all builds – I want to say ‘a memory’, but really it is so much more – a remembered era, my upbringing, hence the titles. If there is one aspect of art making that I enjoy more than anything else it is the transferring of non-language ideas, experiences and emotions.
I hope you enjoy Upbringing I, II, III & IV as much as I do. They are all available separately or as a group of 4 (if you get in quick). Just email me from my contact page or text or phone, the number is also on my contact page.
Once again, thank you for supporting my creative journey. Have a happy day!