Thursday, June 3, 2021

Artist Life: Sketch Journaling - My Sojourn and synchronicity.

Pages from My Gratitude Journal

My Sojourn = Sketch Journaling

My definition of Sojourn when it comes to sketch journaling are travels and temporary stays in beautiful places captured on the pages of a journal.  Whether in the form of drawing/painting or words, or a combination of both.  This with the sole purpose of "Letting synchronicity happen!"

I believe Our World was made with the same creative energy as are you.  So in one's journey with keeping a journal, I find the energy placed into a travel journal needs to be of pure heart and intention.  It’s your mark, unlike anyone else’s, it only needs to be personal to you.  Our individual marks will be uniquely our own. Thoughts, impressions and images that can delight your soul.    

I find that journaling for me as a working artist is permission to play, experiment, record impressions as well as my surroundings.  Journaling helps to free my creative energy without thought to it’s being a proper finished painting. As a working artist I find it's important to not make it into a job. Remove what you're doing from the public platform, keeping it a private safe space.  Yes speed does matter when you're out and traveling, but trust me there’s nothing like a slow enjoyable drawing.  I try to keep myself from filling all the pages with those highly finished pages. (Hard to do for a realist artist like myself, I admit.) 

However I keep one promise to myself while journaling.  I measure my journaling efforts not by how great the art is but does it honor my inner child artist, protecting and defending this time for her.  You are doing this for yourself after all .  Keep it tender like that child's heart, where it’s held loving and supportive, to record things without their needing to BE something salable.  Let some play happen, the rhythm of your line is unique to you.  Honor yourself and this time to play, let it fill your creative well,  not drain it.  Let you be yourself, let the process be what delights you and do not let your inner critical judgement to get in your way.   

 Waiting at a dance competition, synchronicity played it's part as I needed practice on drawing hair!

Daily inspirations can come from many sources.  Let synchronicity play it's part in what you sketch.  Sometimes a scene presents it's self "for you", so take that as a sign.  I take that as a sign that today, I needed to pay attention to this subject, to look deeply and find appreciation in it.  I believe the Universe places sketch-able moments in my day whether I feel like it or not.  Often it's just the item or place I need to practice a technique/skill I'm lacking in or one to sit up and take notice of for personal reasons.  

I sketch my dreams, my explorations, my sacred everyday actions -- like savoring a cup of tea or making soup mindfully and with attention, gratitude, and love. Go as simple or complex as you like.  Sketch those bits you find meaningful or special, it's not always meant to be a full page.  Don’t get caught making a page too precious though!  (This is tough for me.) Just jump in to explore whatever suits your mood or subject. Using mixed media, graphite, ink, watercolor pencils, colored pencils, watercolor, collage, stamps, gouache.  Even thinned acrylics work.  

A Pinerest Image, a parking lot tree
dried flowers.
Try not to overthink or follow a preconceived plan, have fun, and experiment. I find taking deep breathes with my eyes closed helps me calm and settle into the space I’m in flor sketching.  Especially when at first I can find something worthy of a sketch.  Getting quiet with myself, and then listening to nature, allowing a full look around to see and experience the scents and feel the breeze will help me find the image to draw.  

Sometimes you will draw a blank, and nothing seems interesting to draw, it’s for those times I keep a prompt list and also a sketch photo file on my phone.  While I hate to resort to photos, and prefer life drawing for immersing into the scene, let’s face it sometimes a parking lot is not as pretty the 5th or 6th time your stuck waiting in it.  

Your drawing doesn’t have to be linear imagery, puddles of color, roughly sketched with areas of detail or just lightly rendered items work very well.  Words offer so much to my pages, they help to convey mood and feelings. Temperatures, names to places, date, time of day, but most importantly words give you the opportunity to express gratitude for a place in time or the extraordinarily ordinary passing moments of my life.  Words help with the story of the moment and your personal story/experience.  

Let synchronicity happen!     



Monday, February 22, 2021

"Southern Girls Series - Saucer Magnolia Branch", A new series, and the last painting of 2020

Southern Girls - Saucer Magnolia Branch, 6" X 18" Colored Pencil on Ampersand Pastelboard, Available For Sale  

Starting a new series is like starting a new year, and I had to get a jump on 2021 by getting this one going during 2020!  Although this was my last painting of 2020 technically, I was looking forward to 2021, Spring and a fresh year, full of possibilities.  We all needed to mourn 2020 and I realize 2021 could be similar but I choose to look on the bright side.  Just like I'm ignoring all the snow, ICE, sleet and more cold temperatures much of us have endured during this beginning of the year.  

Spring will come, IT WILL COME, say it with me: Spring Will Come! I am soooo ready.  My life revolves around my garden most years, ebbing and flowing with the season, embracing what each has to savor.  I think I was savoring the first 2 snowfalls, and even took a moment to appreciate the icy glaze on the branches everywhere the first ice storm we had.  And really cherished the fact we maintained power, unlike many in the area.  But now despite what the ground hog had to declare, I'm calling it over.  

Maybe it's the sunny day we're having, and my bulbs inching their way up slowly and warily.  Or the forecast of warming temps by later this week, yep probably it's this! ;)) I took down my Valentines wreath and flag, up with the St. Patrick's Day decor, and Luck for Spring.  We all need it don't you think! I willing it to happen.

The piece above came about by many different reference photos, 7 to be exact.  Blending shape of the different stages of each individual flower's opening, with the changing shades each had depending on their age.  Kind of like each of us, from the tightest bud (new, inexperienced and young), to exploring adolescents full of color reaching for experience, then middle aged in our wise ability to hold together in the wind and finally on to the slightly fading in color but full and resilient as can be.  

Gratitude Journal page

This page from my gratitude journal back in 2018 shows a saucer magnolia bud in August no less!  My poor (confused at the season) tree prompted this small sketch.  Saucer magnolia's are deciduous trees that usually bloom on nearly bare branches in the Spring before the leaves have a chance to mature or sprout in earnest.  My plant tried blooming all that growing season.  One here and there.  

The quote I wrote is:

And the day came 
when the Risk to Remain Tight in a bud
was more painful than the Risk it took to Blossom!   
by Anais Nin 

I love this quote as it has much meaning to me.  Risk to bloom no matter if it's out of season or not reminds me of my art career.  Later in life I began my art career, much past the age of many.  But just like the quote and the bud in the sketch, I did finally have the courage to bloom.  And I guess that's what I wish for anyone reading this blog post.  It's never too late to try.  

Stay warm, safe and come back to visit with me all new things are on the horizon here and elsewhere. News to come soon!

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