Stories from my Sketchbook . . .
I really think I am going to rename these posts ‘Struggles with my Sketchbook‘ . . .
Over the last couple of weeks I have had a very hard time getting anything down on the page. It isn’t as if I haven’t tried—I have—but I just haven’t been making any headway. I have spent more time sitting staring at my blank sketchbook pages than I care to admit and then getting cross with myself when I failed to produce anything. I kept telling myself ‘I want to draw something’ —but obviously not enough to actually draw anything. Sigh.
This isn’t the first time I have hit the doldrums when it comes to sketching and I daresay it won’t be the last. (Sketching and I have a bit of a history. See ‘As my artist’s statement explains. . .‘ ) To this day I still can come up with all sorts of lame excuses why I can’t (shouldn’t, won’t) get any drawing done. Fortunately, I have learned enough about myself now (and it’s about bloody time) to know I can also find answers to all these excuses too . . .
There’s nothing to draw (the house is full of things to draw) . . . It’s raining (not inside the house it isn’t) . . . That new ink I ordered hasn’t come yet (so use a biro) . . . There are other things I should be doing instead (there will always other things to be doing instead) . . .
Like I said—lame. Happily, it’s no longer all that easy to just walk away from it like I have done in the past. And the truth, is I really don’t want to walk away. I have loved getting back into sketching and drawing and meeting fellow enthusiasts online (although not so sure I should include myself as an ‘enthusiast’ at this moment in time). Now I realise that this slump is more about my ‘inner critic’ giving me a hard time than it is about my sketching skills. I thought I was getting better at not worrying so much about the end result, but it turns out I’m really not. I’m still worrying more about the outcome than I am about the process.
That’s something I really have to work on.
But I am determined my inner critic is not going to get the better of me this time. Last week I decided if I was going to constantly berate myself about the quality of my sketches I was going to have to go back to basics and learn some fundamentals, so I signed on to an online ‘Foundations’ course with Liz Steel. Liz is a Sydney-based sketchbook artist (and an architect in a previous life) who was also one of my previous teachers at Sketchbook Skool. Coming from an architectural background rather than an artistic one, Liz has a very analytical approach to sketching which immediately attracted me. (And, bonus, this particular course is self-directed, which means I can progress through it in my own time, with no pressure to upload weekly homework assignments. Yay!)
I had a look at the first lesson this weekend. It was all about getting to know your materials, deciding what you you were comfortable with, what you liked using, and what you didn’t like using. I spent a happy couple of days (with the stereo turned up loud) ‘playing’ with my watercolour paints and pencils, mixing colours and textures and generally making an all around mess. (I have decided I am still much more comfortable with my watercolour pencils than with watercolour paints and that I really, really like sketching with my fountain pen. Who knew?) And, guess what? I had fun.
There was no ‘assignment’ as such. But there was a ‘prompt’. Do a sketch of alI the materials I would like to include in my ‘field kit’. Mmmmmm. I think Liz’s idea of a field kit and mine might be slight different.
Below is a sketch of the only bag at home that I found that was large enough to carry everything I decided I might need for a sketching foray out into the big wide world. I’m thinking this might be something else I might have to work on . . .