‘The palest ink is better than the best memory.’ Chinese Proverb.

11 Aug

I have been feeling a little bit despondent about my sketching lately.  I have still managed to work myself up to doing a bit of drawing during the week but I have felt somewhat . . .  uninspired . . . to say the least.  I look at the fabulous sketches of my fellow online students and arty friends, and see that they have done their sketches ‘on the bus’ or ‘in my lunch break’ or ‘in the doctor’s waiting room’ and I, who have no (valid) excuses for not sketching (and obviously a lot more free time on my hands than some of these people) feel like a complete wastrel.

This feeling is not entirely unexpected of course.  I’m in the doldrums.  It’s happened before and, no doubt, will happen again, but . . .  sigh . . .

In the past, feeling like this has resulted in me stopping drawing altogether, sometimes for years, but I am determined that is not going to happen this time.  I am going to try and push through, and if that means a sketchbook full of crappy, uninspiring sketches, then so be it!   (That sentence was full of false bravado by the way.  ‘So be it!’  Ha!  Who am I kidding?  I still get really upset with myself when I do a crappy, unspired sketch, but I am trying a little positive psychology on myself so I’ll let it go . . . )

In an effort to suck myself into a more positive frame of mind I looked back over my very first sketchbook, which I started last year. In it I found one of the first ‘outdoor’ sketches I attempted.  With it I  wrote — ‘. . .  just to be clear, the pots are actually standing on a garden of bark chips (not just a patch of concrete)—but I have no idea how to draw bark chips so I just pretended they wasn’t there.  I also ignored the rest of the garden—the back fence, the Hills Hoist, the three madcap dogs chasing each other in and around the pots—and anything else that was too hard.  I think that’s called ‘artistic licence’ . . .’

At Sketchbook Skool they teach that there are no ‘bad’ drawings.  Each sketch we do is a learning experience and therefore important in itself.  Although I still struggle internally with this concept (I still believe that some of my drawing ‘experiences’ have been, and continue to be, pretty gruesome) I have tried to take this on board and so, although at times still sorely tempted, I no longer rip these offending pages out of my sketchbooks.  I may not ever show these horrors to anybody else but there they will remainpale (or sometimes scarily bright) memories of my ongoing artistic endeavours.

Finding that earlier sketch put me in mind of another I did, much more recently, of the same garden. It’s from a different angle (it was a cold day so the girls and I sat in the warmest spot we could find) but otherwise much is unchanged.  The bird bath and many of the plants are the same—and I still haven’t worked out how to draw bark chips or the dogs racing around the gardenbut, in spite of that, I do like the second drawing more than the first, and that’s definitely a step in the right direction.

So, sketching slump or no, I will soldier on.  I am not going to give up.  Realistically, how could I anyway?

What on earth would I do with all the cupboards (and drawers and boxes) still full of lovely (empty) sketchbooks. . .  and pens . . . and inks . . .  and pencils . . . and paints . . . and pastels and . . .


Posted by on August 11, 2017 in Uncategorized


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7 responses to “‘The palest ink is better than the best memory.’ Chinese Proverb.

  1. stevetalbot51

    August 13, 2017 at 8:36 pm

    Mmmmmm, chips 🙂
    Sal, we talked about this the other day but I didn’t give you the full background.
    When I was a marathon runner – (way) back in the day – I will never forget someone saying to me “There will always be many faster runners than you …. and there will always be many slower runners too ……. you will always be “middle of the pack” – but as long as you enjoy running, that is the only thing – and enough reason to keep doing it”.
    So it is with your drawing – you don’t have to be the best, or even among the best – as long as you enjoy what you are doing that is the only thing.
    For what it’s worth, I think you’re pretty good at this stuff (and I am clearly not the only one!)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Joneen Troup

    August 11, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    So ..,,. Can’t you see it? More detail and depth in more recent garden sketch. Go Sal. Never give up. You have enviable talent so you are obligated to pursue this for those of us less talented. Looking forward to next garden sketch including wood chips xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • sallyinthehaven

      August 12, 2017 at 7:54 am

      Thank you for the encouragement Jon. I might have to go out and start practising drawing wood chips right now!


  3. C C Cedras

    August 11, 2017 at 10:40 am

    I think you’ve realized the key: whether it’s good or worthy or anything you’d be willing for others to see, just keep sketching. As my late husband used to say, “It’s a numbers game.” Hard to do in practice, to be sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. S. A. Young

    August 11, 2017 at 9:04 am

    You are a very talented artist and I hope you continue to draw, paint, sketch, whatever your heart desires, for as long as it brings you joy. (I get the doldrums though. I’ve experienced it many times with my writing and I feel like such a slacker when I read how other writers have managed to pump out book after book while juggling career, kids and home. We all do things at our own pace.)


    • sallyinthehaven

      August 11, 2017 at 10:16 am

      Thank you. I am sure I will continue on with it but sometimes it just helps to have a bit of a whinge. 🙂 I’ve also never understood how some people seem to pump out drawing after drawing, or post after post on their blogs, or, as you say, book after book. Sigh. Makes me feel SO inadequate . . .



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