From the moment I first came across ‘The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady’ and later ‘Lady Cottington’s Pressed Fairy Book’ I have been fascinated with the concept of mixing art and writing. Of Illustrated Journals. When I first started looking online at this topic I discovered Art Journalling. The vibrant colours and mixed media caught my eye. I delved into art journalling using spray inks, acrylics and water soluble media And sometimes adding words. Yet it wasn’t what I was initially looking for.
Recently I came across Sketchbooks, in particular Urban Sketching. Whilst not exactly following the lines of the previously mentioned two beautiful books, Sketchbooking fascinates me as a visual diary, an illustrated journal, of everyday ordinary lives.
Googling (as we are want to do), I came across the wonderful artists and sketchbookers Cathy Johnson, Liz Steele and Danny Gregory. I can spend hours reading their blogs and Cathy and Danny’s books. Totally inspiring and motivating in a ‘yep I can do it’ way.
Yet I found myself spending most of my time researching, gathering art materials and trying to get some sort of ‘doing ‘ happening. I had a block. Fear, frustration and time wasting were my enemies. Driving to work this work I decided I had had enough of the planning and organising. It was certainly time to get into the doing.
I came across Sketchbook Skool last week and was contemplating the 6 week online courses. Lying in bed this morning feeling rather less than my best with an upset stomach, I opened my Kindle and Dannys book ‘Art Before Breakfast’. I had downloaded it last week sometime. Back to Google and the Sketchbook Skool, and with this fortnights pay now in the bank, I enrolled online in their two current courses, Beginning and Seeing.
What a joy. Just what I needed to move me into the doing. As I began the first course I stopped to head downstairs to my art space and dig through my half completed art journals. Found the ones where I had decided to do some sketchbooking but had put aside to do art journalling and painting, and to go bak to the beginning in learning to draw instead. Well my first attempts, looking back, actually weren’t too bad.
Back to bed with a few of my sketchbooks, I looked again at the paper weights in my journals. Some are heavy watercolour, and others suitable for light washes. I tend to have a heavy hand with water. Grabbing pen and paint and leaving off the pencils, I decided it was time. Sitting outside in the sun I let my eyes wander. Hearing Danny’s words of sketching whatever is in my view, I started. The railing on the top balcony and then the wind chimes above. I left out the trees, sky and rooftops as I also recalled comments that you don’t need to include everything.
I looked at the page and felt pleasure at my work. Yep I can do it. I just had to start. This afternoon after I filled an Altoids tin with Winsor Newton paint sticks and a small waterbrush. I had read about these but never seen them in Australia until I found them online in a British lolly shop site. I finally put pen to the small sketchbook I had found to carry in my handbag. I looked at them sitting on a clip board. Grabbing a felt tipped pen I drew, and wrote, and left the page in black and white. But the paints called to be used. Breathing deeply I added colour and watched as the water blurred the pen marks. I had used an Artline pen. Not waterproof. And I liked the effect.
I predominantly use UniPin 0.2 fineliners to write and map out ideas and thoughts in my note book journals. But having seen how one artist uses non-permanent pens, I had bought a couple of the Artliner 0.2’s to experiment with. And this time I had grabbed one not realising that it wasnt the permanent pen. Stroke of luck, the effect was better than I thought.
So now it’s back to Sketchbook Skool to continue the classes. To learn, explore, be motivated and encouraged to Do. Daily. Anywhere. Everywhere. I feel like the weight holding me down recently has lifted. My energy (at least in my mind tho not necessarily physically at the moment) has returned. The frenetic thoughts crowding my mind the past week can return to the background as art as meditation takes place to calm my mind and soul. I have crossed my self-imposed hurdle.