My sketchbook drawings always begin with the idea that they are my own personal visual journal (which gives a great sense of freedom to create for the joy of creating).
Traveling or walking with a small sketchbook allows me to easily record and remember my impressions of a day — light, color, season — by using succinct notation to record my visual experiences. The sketchbook offers an opportunity to experiment with new ideas, compositions or materials, and can later become a resource to inform or sometimes inspire other works or projects.
Sketchbook drawings remain a real time record of an artist’s visual thinking, and although intended as a personal diary, because of their authenticity, conciseness, or energy, they can often stand alone as works in their own right.
When art empowers an artist with the truth of creativity, it sets him or her upon a path, and thrills him or her forever. LM
I am an oil painter and my process is very slow. Forty-five minutes to organize my palette, lay out colors, mix glazes, select appropriate brushes, and assess the work in front of me before I touch paint to surface. This is followed by hours of mark making and erasing in very small sections. Cleaning up at the end of a painting session takes forty-five minutes as well: reorganize salvageable mixes, clear and wipe down the remaining palette, clean my brushes to carefully remove all traces of paint and glaze. I’ve learned that I cannot skip or speed up any of the steps. It all takes time and is a ritual that I love.
My sketchbook by contrast is immediate, requiring no preparation and taking up very little room. It’s the place for figuring out what needs adjustment for works in progress before I commit with paint. It is my catchall for sudden impressions and visual thoughts; an immediate place for pursuing ideas wherever I am. It’s also the place for catching words and quotes that have meaning and influence for me.
Drawing involves a piece of paper, a pencil, a tortillion and an eraser. I make marks. Light and shadow only. Nothing is precious. Everything can be repaired and redone with one swipe. Fully-formed concepts are not necessary. Ideas that stray from current projects and series are fine. I explore anything that moves me without full commitment or investment. I indulge obsessions and techniques. I pursue why objects and places have meaning for me.
The ritual is unconstrained. Draw. Smudge. Erase. Turn the page. Start again.